Local News

Animal adoption set for April 24 at Segra

04 puppy and kittenThe Fayetteville Woodpeckers are partnering with local animal rescues and pet vendors to host an adoption event at Segra Stadium on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This event is free to the public and will coincide with the first opportunity for fans to purchase tickets for May Woodpeckers home baseball games. Interested people can meet available dogs and cats from each rescue and fill out adoption applications.

The Woodpeckers will also be collecting items for the rescues. Donations of $5 or more will receive 10% off in The Birds’ Nest Team Store. Items requested include: cleaning products (paper towels, disinfectant spray or wipes), canned or dry dog and cat food, treats and puppy pads. Pets are not allowed at this event except for dogs and cats with each respective rescues. The Birds’ Nest Team Store will be open.

Masks are required when entering the ballpark. The Woodpeckers will release its promotional calendar for the month of May prior to tickets going on sale. The home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11 against the visiting Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.

A limited amount of tickets for Woodpeckers home games will be available on a month-by-month basis. Fans can purchase tickets for any of the six May games from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in-person at the BB&T Now Truist Box Office. For anyone not able to buy in-person, tickets will become available online starting April 26th at 10 a.m.

Individual game tickets for 2021 May home games will be available in safe, socially-distanced pods. Due to local and state health and safety guidelines and socially-distanced seating, Segra Stadium’s capacity is expected to be at 30% to begin the season. For this reason, the best chance for fans to get seats to 2021 home games is to purchase a Full-Season, Half-Season, or 20-Game Membership. Season Members and Ticket Voucher Plans will have first opportunity to purchase tickets for May and to exchange their vouchers.

COVID-19 vaccine supply outpaces local demand

Cape Fear Valley Health has seen an apparent decline in interest in COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Each Friday at 5 p.m. the health system opens appointments for the subsequent weeks through its website, www.capefearvalley.com/covid19. During recent weeks, only about 15% of the appointments were filled by Monday morning.

“What we’re worried about is the vaccine supply is outpacing demand,” said Vice President of Professional Services at Cape Fear Valley Health Chris Tart. “We need to encourage everyone to roll their sleeves up and be vaccinated so we can continue to put this pandemic behind us.” The available supply of all vaccines has also expanded, with more traditional providers and retail locations such as pharmacies offering inoculations.

Cargill commits to expansion of Cumberland County plant

03 Cargill black 2c web lgCargill has chosen Cumberland County for a significant expansion of its plant by investing $25 million to improve production capacity. A six-year performance-based incentive grant of $600,000 was approved by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. The project, set to begin before the end of 2021, will generate tax revenue and increased economic activity which will offset the incentive, according to county officials. Additionally, the investment will help maintain the 70 jobs currently at the site, which have average salaries of $70,000 a year, well above Cumberland County’s average wage.

Cargill is a global leader in oilseed processing. These investments are part of the organization’s overall growth strategy in the U.S. and create an opportunity to better serve customers on both ends of the supply chain. All facilities will continue to operate while construction and expansion are underway, Cargill said in a media release.

“Cargill is a longtime employer in our community and a buyer of the soybeans our farmers grow,” said County Commission Chairman Charles Evans. “We are grateful the company is expanding their agribusiness operations here.” Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the soybean oil manufacturing business has operated its facility on River Road outside Fayetteville since 1970. The company evaluated competing locations for its investment and ultimately chose Cumberland County for the project which will invest $5 million in real estate improvements and $20 million in new personal property.

“While we are always excited to bring new companies to our community, our top goal is to help existing businesses grow and flourish,” said Fayetteville-Cumberland County Economic Development Corp. Chairman Andrew Pennink. FCEDC is a public-private partnership designed to enhance job growth and prosperity in the region by attracting new industry and growing and retaining existing industry.

“Our plant in Cumberland County is an important link in the supply chain for North Carolina farmers and livestock producers, and these investments will help us serve customers more efficiently,” said Don Camden, vice president, Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain North America. “Cargill is committed to nourishing the world in a safe, responsible, sustainable way. We are part of the community and are proud to provide significant support for a number of organizations in the area funding nutrition and education programming projects, as well as COVID-19 relief.”

In partnership with global and local health experts, Cargill developed safety protocols to promote industry standards for health and safety. “Still, we have not been immune from the pandemic,” the company noted on its website. “When it hurts one of us, it impacts all of us.” The company closed two plants in Canada where employees contracted coronavirus. In addition, Cargill launched the Cargill Cares Employee Disaster Relief Fund to help meet employees' immediate needs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cargill has 155,000 employees worldwide. The privately held firm was founded at the end of the American Civil War, by William Wallace Cargill. The company has grown from a grain storage facility into an international producer and distributor of agricultural products such as sugar, refined oil, chocolate, and turkey. Cargill also provides risk management, commodities trading and transportation services. Descendants of William Cargill and his son-in-law John MacMillan have owned common equity in the company for over 140 years. Learn more at www.cargill.com.

Forward Together: Methodist University thrives during pandemic

13 Cover Story COVID web siteIn just a few short weeks, Methodist University graduates from the class of 2021 are scheduled to walk across the stage at Segra Stadium in downtown Fayetteville. If this happens, it would be more than just a commencement celebration of academic achievement from one of the premier universities in the state, it would close out an unprecedented year of sacrifice, care for others, and unsurpassed vigilance.

Right here in Cumberland County stands a private, top-tier university that not only rose to the challenges of COVID-19 during this academic year, but worked tirelessly as a united community of students, faculty and staff to achieve excellence while remaining as safe as possible.

While universities large and small across the state and nation were forced to close their doors to on-campus living, student activities, and in-person classes in the fall and spring semesters, MU was strategic in its planning and protocols and has remained open to its residential students the entire year. There are still a few weeks to go in the spring semester, so the community must remain cautious and determined, but the accomplishments thus far have been remarkable.

“At Methodist University, we might be 2,000 individuals, but we make up ONE community,” said Alisyn Keating, a Forensic Science major from the Class of 2021. “It’s a community that shows we care for each other by following all safety guidelines and moving forward together.”

“Forward Together” has been the theme for the university since the beginning of classes in the fall. It has not just been a slogan on t-shirts and flyers, it’s truly symbolic of the teamwork that has led to a year’s worth of success both in the classroom
and out.

By understanding and following safety guidelines (wearing masks, social distancing, frequently washing hands, practicing good hygiene, limiting gathering), MU has been able to offer in-person classes — with its expert faculty — throughout the year. Results of extensive contact tracing show that because protocols have been strictly followed, not a single case of COVID has been spread in a classroom or lab.

While students in majors such as Business, Psychology, Biology, Criminal Justice, Physician Assistant Studies, and Social Work thrived in the classroom, MU kept students active and engaged outside of the classroom, as well.

More than 100 university-sponsored student organizations, fraternities and sororities, and athletic teams have creatively adjusted to hurdles COVID has placed before them, holding socially distanced events outside and coming together via Zoom for meetings or presenting shows and concerts. While students were sent home from many other colleges, MU students have worked together with university staff and shared in community, worship, and “college life” together.

“The past year has indeed been a challenging one, but we are still finding ways to help students come together while staying safely apart,” said Dr. Doris Munoz, MU’s Director of Student Involvement. “Socialization is such an important aspect to college life. It’s here where students create lifelong friendships and make unforgettable memories.”

Success in the classroom, success on campus, but also success in athletic competition have set Methodist University apart this year. Every one of MU’s 20 NCAA intercollegiate sports were able to compete this year, with the football team hosting the USA South Athletic Conference championship and both the men’s and women’s golf teams each being ranked in the Top 2 in the entire nation. Athletes were tested extensively, each week, for the safety of the MU student-athletes, but also the coaches, trainers, officials and opposing teams.

One of the great advantages Methodist University has over other institutions – not just in Southeast North Carolina, but across the state and region – is an on-campus Health Services Center staffed full time by experienced professionals. It also has a wide array of doctors and other health care professionals on campus who direct MU’s highly regarded undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in health services. Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Health Care Management and Information, are just some of the successful health services programs at Methodist.

The result of this expertise on campus is careful planning, daily monitoring and reporting, immediate contact tracing, and has even resulted in partnerships to provide full-campus testing and vaccination opportunities for all students, faculty and staff.

To move forward together in this fashion is unique. It couldn’t happen without the strong connection that everyone in the MU community has. In addition to the students, faculty, and staff, there are the alumni, board of trustee members, and other friends of the university that have stepped up to meet the challenges COVID has presented.

“I am truly honored to be a part of a community that is so committed and caring,” MU President Stanley T. Wearden said in a message to the campus. “Monarchs wearing masks in class and when in public spaces, practicing social distancing, following gathering guidelines, and self-monitoring on our Green Screen app every day is how we have succeeded with in-person learning and residential living on campus through the fall and spring semesters. We might be 2,000 individuals, but we also are connected as ONE community that continues to move forward together."

In the final four weeks of the academic year, MU has hosted a championship football game and will compete in other conference tournaments. MU will present its 10th Annual Research and Creativity Symposium. MU will have offered the Johnson & Johnson one-time vaccination to all of its students, faculty, and staff. MU looks to complete the 2020-21 academic year in a way many around the state and nation were unable to accomplish. And, if all goes as planned, MU will hold an in-person (socially distanced, of course) graduation ceremony at Segra Stadium in early May.

As the weekly presidential messages, hundreds of posters, dedicated resource web site, and dozens of videos have said, Methodist University is made up of students, faculty and staff that have walked alongside each other as ONE community and truly succeeded in moving Forward Together.

Excellence and value come together in the classroom

11 Excellence story NoBecause Methodist University is a private, liberal arts school that receives top-tier rankings every year, some may believe the cost of attending one of the premier schools in North Carolina is out of their range. But MU is unique not just in its excellence, but also in its value.

While MU graduates rank among the highest in the state for employment soon after graduation and salary earned, nearly 100% of MU students receive financial aid that makes the cost to attend less than the national average. It’s the high-level degrees that lead to employment and advancement in careers, at a price competitive with the big-box schools.

“At MU, students are taught by faculty with doctorates, and classes have an impressive 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio that few in the entire region can match,” said Rick Lowe, vice president for Enrollment Services at MU. “Combine that with an average financial-aid package of more than $30,000 for residential students, and it’s easy to see why Methodist University is unique.”

Financial aid packages at Methodist can include federal aid money and there are more than 150 institutional scholarships.

“These financial-aid opportunities allow us to deliver a highly competitive net price and enables our students to attend a university with top-tier programs that deliver exceptional quality and value. You’re not just a number at MU, and you receive a well-rounded education that expands your career opportunities now and in the future,” Lowe said.

Methodist University, which also has a campus at Fort Bragg, accepts the GI Bill, which members of the U.S. military, veterans, and their families receive as a benefit for their service. The GI Bill isn’t factored in the average financial-aid package, so it can lower the cost of education at MU even more.

With this cost comes classrooms run by motivated professors who often practiced in their fields before joining the faculty at MU. These professors bring a wealth of experiential knowledge as well as connections in the working world. While students are learning under the tutelage of expert professors, the staff in MU’s Career Services Office connects them with resources to help them find not just a job, but
a career.

“We offer our students a very unique experience,” said Taylor Vann, a counselor in the Career Services Office. “We work with our students to create a career management plan that meets the needs of their personal and professional goals. We discuss trends and labor market information related to their career interests, along with what skills and experiences will make them competitive in today’s global workforce.”

These efforts, coupled with advanced work in the classroom, is why more than 90% of May 2020 MU alumni reported that they landed a job, or were
pursuing a higher degree, within six months of graduation.

“Through Career Services and their local connections in the community, I was able to have a paid internship at a local environmental lab in Fayetteville,” said Nicole Hardin Wildeboer, a graduate of MU’s Chemistry/Forensic Science program. “This internship solidified that the lab setting was what I desired, while also allowing me to gain the hands-on job experience that would make me a more qualified applicant for whatever job I applied for next.”

Wildeboer now works as a forensic scientist in the Trace Evidence Department of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. “My Chemistry advisor and a couple Forensic Science and Criminal Justice professors have proved to be a very helpful resource for me, even after graduation,” she said. “Their desire to see me succeed was apparent throughout my four years at Methodist and has continued on, even after graduation.”

Wildeboer’s story is one of many proving the value of an MU degree. Graduates have gone on to work at multinational companies such as Merrill Lynch, Marriott Hotels, the NFL Players Association, Johnson & Johnson, Goodyear, the Smithsonian, General Mills, Microsoft and NASA.

In addition, Methodist is not only affordable and successful in placing graduates in careers, but also accessible. MU’s 617-acre main campus is home to state-of-the-art learning facilities, an 18-hole private golf course for students, athletic facilities for 20 NCAA sports, and more.

Methodist University serves a wide range of students, from traditional students and working adults, to active members of our military and their families. For anyone seeking excellence and value, MU is an obvious choice.

For more information about Methodist University, visit methodist.edu or contact the admissions office at 800-488-7110.

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