Local News

REAL ID: Are you ready?

08 DMV REAL ID CardBeginning Oct. 1, 2020, federal government agencies will enforce the REAL ID Act, which requires a REAL ID card, U.S. passport or other approved identification to board commercial airline flights and enter military reservations. The North Carolina REAL ID is a driver’s license that is just like a traditional license or ID except that it has a gold star at the top right corner. Driver’s licenses and IDs without gold stars note, “Not for Federal Identification.”

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The law established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. North Carolina is in compliance.

The REAL ID is completely optional. You do not need an N.C. REAL ID driver’s license or identification card to do any of the following: drive, vote, apply for or receive federal benefits, visit a post office, access a hospital or receive life-saving services, participate in law enforcement or court proceedings or investigations. However, an N.C. REAL ID will be helpful for anyone who boards a commercial airplane or visits nuclear sites, military bases, federal courthouses or federal prisons.

A REAL ID does not permit direct access to Fort Bragg or other military installations — people still must get visitor passes — but it will save time getting a pass. At Fort Bragg, passes can be acquired at the All-American gate, or access control point, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitor passes will be issued to all persons with valid reasons for entering the installation. A visitor pass can be issued for up to 90 days for nonDoD personnel. A security-vetting process will be completed for each individual before receiving a visitor pass. This includes all passengers in a vehicle.

 Some people will need REAL ID sooner than others. Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune began requiring REAL ID or other forms of identification for access as of Jan. 22, Patrice Bethea, a spokeswoman for North Carolina DMV said. U.S. military identification cards, including those for active duty or retired military members and their dependents as well as DoD civilians, can be used instead of REAL ID.

To apply for a REAL ID card, North Carolinians must visit a DMV driver’s license office and provide a document that proves identity, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or immigration documents, proof of Social Security number, plus two documents that establish residency in North Carolina, such as a utility bill, vehicle registration card or bank statement. Applications cannot be made online. 

One of the advantages of a REAL ID driver’s license is that it will provide certainty that the ID will be accepted. Bethea said waiting until the last minute won’t work. People who get a new license will receive it in the mail 15 days later.

Learn more and see a list of requirements at www.ncrealid.gov.

I-95 widening under way

07 I 95The need to widen Interstate 95 through North Carolina has been a subject of serious discussion since first suggested by former state Sen. Larry Shaw, D-Cumberland, 10 years ago. Shaw proposed a toll road to pay for widening the 182 miles of highway in North Carolina. The toll road was rejected, but the need for expansion was developed. The North Carolina Department of Transportation began the first phase of construction earlier this month. The Long Branch Road bridge at exit 71 in Harnett County was closed, marking the first stage of a $404 million contract to widen 15 miles of the interstate north of Fayetteville.A contractor will replace the two-lane bridge in Dunn with a taller and longer three-lane overpass. All four ramps will be realigned and tied into the taller bridge. The realignment will make it possible to extend the ramps for drivers merging onto the highway and to separate service roads that now intersect with the ramps. The changes will enhance the safety of the interchange and create room to double the interstate’s travel lanes to eight.

NCDOT officials estimate the new bridge and upgraded interchange will open in about one year. When the bridge closes, I-95 drivers initially will continue to be allowed to take exit 71 and turn right, but not left. Eventually, all the ramps will be closed, requiring drivers to detour to exit 70. In preparation for closing the Exit 71 bridge, in January crews added temporary pavement and erected concrete barriers to maintain four lanes on the interstate during construction. When a rebuilt exit 71 reopens, the Bud Hawkins Road bridge at exit 70 will close for the same kind of reconstruction for about one year.  

The overall contract calls for widening I-95 between exit 56 in Eastover and exit 71 in Dunn. The design and right-of-way acquisition for the rest of the route will be completed this year, allowing more construction to proceed by this fall. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2024. The portion of I-95 being widened between mile markers 56 and 71 is funded in part by a $147 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant. It is part of a larger project to widen 25 miles of I-95 to eight lanes between I-95 Business/U.S. 301 at exit 56 in Fayetteville and I-40 at exit 81 at Benson in Johnston County. 

This 25-mile section is the oldest and busiest in the state along I-95, reaching nearly 60,000 vehicles a day in southern Johnston County, according to a 2016 survey.  “I-95 is our East Coast main highway and a vital link in our state for business expansion, residential growth and tourism,” said Grady Hunt, who represents Division 6 on the N.C. Board of Transportation. “This will be a significant investment in North Carolina.”

The projects mark the state’s first substantial upgrade of I-95, which was built beginning in the 1950s under President Dwight Eisenhower. The sections to be widened were scored using criteria such as congestion management and traffic volume and received funding in the department’s State Transportation Improvement Program.

Complete voter registration

06 01 Person VotingState and county governments are providing citizens valuable information to encourage their willingness to vote. Voting can be confusing and, some say, disenfranchising. A typical resident may reside in as many as seven different voting districts.

The Cumberland County Board of Elections has provided registered voters an informative card itemizing the county commission, city council, school board, state house of representatives, state senate, judicial and congressional district numbers. Also provided is a resident’s precinct voting location. The North Carolina Board of Elections has mailed cards delineating election dates, registration deadlines, early voting dates and absentee ballot information.

The information provided advises voters they will not be required to show photo identification during the March 2020 primary election. The federal courts blocked the requirement which will remain in effect until further order of the court. State and county governments are providing citizens valuable information to encourage their willingness to vote. Voting can be confusing and, some say, disenfranchising. A typical resident may reside in as many as seven different voting districts.

The Cumberland County Board of Elections has provided registered voters an informative card itemizing the county commission, city council, school board, state house of representatives, state senate, judicial and congressional district numbers. Also provided is a resident’s precinct voting location. The North Carolina Board of Elections has mailed cards delineating election dates, registration deadlines, early voting dates and absentee ballot information. The information provided advises voters they will not be required to show photo identification during the March 2020 primary election. The federal courts blocked the requirement which will remain in effect until further order of the court. 

06 02 Book Bags 2
Register of Deeds team honored

For the past 10 years, the Cumberland County Register of Deeds office has gone above and beyond to help homeless students in Cumberland County Schools by coordinating an annual countywide school supply campaign. Register of Deeds Lee Warren coordinated the effort, which has donated more than 5,000 book bags stuffed with school supplies for students in need. Warren is the first recipient of Cumberland County Schools’ Committed Community Support Award. He received a plaque and was recognized at the February Cumberland County Board of Education meeting on Feb. 11. “Mr. Warren has a heart for the citizens of our community and was touched when one of his former staff members learned about the number of homeless children in the school system,” said social work coordinator Pamela S. Story who nominated him. “Through his positive influence in the community, hundreds of citizens — individually or through companies, businesses and organizations —donated funds, supplies and time to help support ‘the least of these’ in CCS.” 

06 03 Duane HolderCounty Administration restructuring

Duane Holder is Cumberland County’s first deputy manager. He had been an Assistant County Manager for Community Support Services since September 2017. The upcoming retirement in June of Assistant County Manager Melissa Cardinali provided County Manager Amy Cannon an opportunity to review her organizational structure, which had included four assistant managers. “Duane has earned the respect and confidence of the department heads he leads and will be a greater asset to the county in this expanded role,” Cannon said. Holder will continue to oversee numerous departments, including Social Services, Public Health, Child Support, Community Development and Veterans Services. He will also lead the county’s budget division. Holder earned a Master of Public Administration from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mount Olive College. 

The Wilmington Insurrection06 04 wilmington

 The Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County and the Black On Black Project will co-host a film screening of “Wilmington on Fire.” On the morning of Nov. 10, 1898, in Wilmington, North Carolina, a massive fire was the beginning of an attack that took place seven blocks east of the Cape Fear River, about 10miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. By sundown, the local newspaper had been torched, as many as 60 people had been murdered, and the local government that was elected two days earlier had been overthrown and replaced by white supremacists. Given all the violence in U.S. history, it was the only coup d’état to take place on American soil. The film documents the investigation into the race riot. A panel discussion and conversation will follow the film screening with director Christopher Everett and team members from the film. 

06 05 BunkerWoodpeckers season-opening game
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Class A Advanced MiLB affiliate of the Houston Astros, are pleased to announce the schedule for their 2020 season as well as the initial offering of 2020 half-season tickets. The Woodpeckers open the season at Segra Stadium Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m., against the Frederick Keys. “Over 250,000 people visited Segra Stadium during our inaugural season,” said Mark Zarthar, president of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. “The response from our community was remarkable. We are eager to reward our fans by offering a 2020 season full of surprises, and hopefully, a Carolina League Championship.” Half-season packages come with a variety of benefits, including schedule flexibility, a ticket exchange program and first right to special events. Thirty-five game packages start at just $340. Full season tickets are also on sale.

Mayor Jackie Warner releases statement

12 01 jackie warnerHope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to a post made on a Facebook page. The page, called the Hope Mills Bee, has subjected Warner to numerous personal attacks over the last several months.

The page is one of multiple such pages on Facebook that have been involved in an orchestrated campaign against Warner.

The original post on the Hope Mills Bee has been shared multiple times, both by individual Facebook members and other pages that have consistently criticized Warner. According to information posted on the page, the Hope Mills Bee is a self-described media/news company that lists an email address and contact phone number but does not reveal who the creator of the page is.

The post Warner responded to was made Monday at 3:58 p.m. It features a photo of an Internal Revenue Service document entitled Notice of Federal Tax Lien. Anonymous text posted with the document states that the federal tax lien was filed against WarJack Enterprises, which is the corporate name of Countryside Furniture in Hope Mills. The business is operated by Warner’s husband, Alex. Mayor Warner is listed as the secretary, but she said she is not involved in day-to-day operations. Also listed are her husband Alex, who is the president, and son Teddy, who is vice president. They are the only corporate officers.

The text of the Facebook post states “it appears from the lien that no taxes were filed or paid for at least six years.’’ Warner, in the statement and in a subsequent telephone interview, made it clear that while the information about a lien being filed is accurate, the statement that no taxes have been paid on the business is entirely false. Warner said she and her husband are not delinquent with tax payment and have fully paid all property, income and sales taxes they owe.

She said the lien was filed because of unpaid penalties resulting from the multiple late filings of tax information by their accountant dating back to 2010. The lien was filed in September of 2019, according to the form in the photograph. Warner said they took no action because their accountant informed them he was in negotiation to get the fees waived. Warner declined to reveal the name of the accountant due to the ongoing negotiations to get the fees waived.

“As Mayor of Hope Mills, I have tried to be a good role model for our community,’’ Warner wrote. “Our current situation that has caused so much discussion on social media is related to late filings of corporate tax reports.’’

Warner went on to explain that she and her husband owe penalties that were assessed due to late filings of tax information. “We have had the same accountant for over 40 years, so our responsibility and accountability we accept while we trusted that we were receiving good advice,’’ she wrote. “Our accountant was and has been in negotiations with the IRS with the understanding he was requesting waivers of the penalties.’’

Warner said all of the corporate tax penalties will be paid once negotiation with the IRS over the final amount owed have been completed. “We believe all citizens should be held accountable, including the mayor, for our responsibilities as a tax payer,’’ she wrote.

Dental assistants integral members of dental team

14 dentist The Dental Assisting curriculum at Fayetteville Technical Community College prepares individuals to assist the dentist in the delivery of dental treatment and to function as integral members of the dental team while performing chair-side and related office and laboratory procedures. Students receive up-to-date training in the dental field from a CODA-accredited program. This means students who graduate from FTCC are considered DA II’s in the state of North Carolina and are eligible to perform some expanded functions in this state without paying for further training or certification.

Dental assisting is an exciting career in the dental field that gives students a variety of options upon graduation. They can work in general dentistry or in one of the specialties: orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatrics, etc. There is also work in administrative roles or with dental vendors. Training in dental assisting gives students knowledge and flexibility to advance in the dental field. The program at FTCC covers instruments, both general and specialty, and their functions — infection control policies and procedures, dental radiography, dental materials, dental sciences, anatomy, and practice management. Students have training on campus as well as clinical rotations to dental offices in Fayetteville and surrounding areas. Rotation sites include general dentistry and specialty areas. This exposure gives students valuable training with real patients as they learn to function as a member of the dental team. As students move through their semesters, they also prepare for their national board exams. Students have the option to take the boards in three sections: Infection Control; Radiation Health and Safety; and General Chairside. Or they can take all three components at one sitting. Students are Certified Dental Assistants or CDAs once they have passed all exam components, and that is a national recognition.

Training to become a dental assistant is a one-year program. The training starts in the fall semester, and students graduate the following summer. Most graduates have secured jobs prior to graduation and have gained valuable hands-on experience from their clinical rotation sites. The job outlook for dental assisting shows that there will be growth in the field through at least 2032, and the average salary for a North Carolina dental assistant is $38,720. Students who have advanced certification and training are more likely to have the best job prospects according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Students interested in dental assisting are encouraged to call or email me for further information at 910-678-8574 or walkers@faytechcc.edu. The application process for all health programs is open from November through Jan. 30, and financial aid is available for qualified students. Students will need to make an application to the college first and have all transcripts sent to FTCC for processing. Late applications to the program may be accepted. The faculty and staff at FTCC are excited to help get you started on the path to your new career! We look forward to having you come and learn with us and become part of our dental family at FTCC.

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