Local News

America's Guard of Honor deploys to Afghanistan

04 82nd deploysThe 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team is on duty at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The brigade is the division’s Immediate Response Force, America’s rapid response team. It is able to deploy within 18 hours of notification. “This is what the 82nd does and they do it very well,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The 82nd trains for airborne assault operations into enemy areas with a specialization in airfield seizure. The 82nd's Immediate Response Force has seen action in recent years deploying on News Year’s Eve 2019 to Iraq to help secure the U.S. embassy as it came under attack by Iranian-linked Shia militias.

The Division again deployed troops in the summer of 2020 to the Nation’s Capital Region in response to civil disturbances in Washington, D.C.

The division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, is leading the paratroopers in Afghanistan.

Pictured: Paratroopers with 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division board a plane enroute to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy 82nd Airborne Division)

CDC data suggest vaccine is safe for pregnant women

03 pregnant womenRecent research is supporting the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations for pregnant women. Though pregnant women were excluded from the initial clinical trials for the vaccines — as is standard practice for all vaccine trials — almost 140,000 pregnant women have voluntarily joined the CDC’s V-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry since December, 2020.

Cape Fear Valley Perinatology’s Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist Stuart Shelton, M.D. said this is an issue that has come up a lot lately with his patients. Dr. Shelton is the only maternal fetal medicine specialist, or perinatologist in Cumberland County. He has been practicing in Fayetteville 19 years.

“So far, the data show no increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth. or stillbirth,” Dr. Shelton said. “Basically, there’s no increased risk of any adverse pregnancy outcomes. Data are still being collected and analyzed.”

Shelton said he tells all his patients the same thing when they ask about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think the vaccine is safe, and I tell the patient that her risk of pregnancy complications is much higher if she gets COVID infection than it is with the vaccine,” he said. “And right now, we don’t know of any increased risks associated with the vaccine. If it was one of my family members or friends, I would highly recommend they get the vaccine without any reservation.”

That’s not just his personal opinion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine have highly recommended the vaccine for pregnant women and lactating women.

“And the reason for that is they feel the vaccine is safe, and we know that if a woman gets COVID while pregnant, she has a higher risk of complications,” Stuart said.

“Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a three-times higher risk of being admitted to the ICU, and about two to three times higher risk of being on a ventilator. Their chances of dying from complications of COVID, compared with a woman who is not pregnant, are about twice as high.”

Shelton said that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the best choices for women of childbearing age because of some very rare complications that have occurred in reproductive-age women who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those complications were not related to pregnancy. However, the best choice for any person is the vaccine they are willing to take. For some women with severe needle phobias, the one-shot advantage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could make it the right choice for them.

Though Dr. Shelton typically sees women who are already pregnant, he says rumors that vaccines cause infertility are unfounded based on available evidence. As noted by ACOG, given the mechanism of action and safety profile of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not a cause of infertility.

Fort Bragg archaeologist investigates, preserves and shares history

10 IMG 4842Linda Carnes-McNaughton has spent her career as an archaeologist and works as such on Fort Bragg. “I discovered anthropology, the study of human cultures, biology and behaviors.

It seemed like a perfect fit, then I went on ‘a dig’ and knew that was what I wanted to do forever, I wanted to learn about people of the past through discovery.”

As a military brat, Carnes-McNaughton was immersed in other cultures as a child when the family moved around. In Japan, at the age of 6, she took language classes, traditional dance and crafts and enjoyed the games she played with Japanese children.

“I think that experience, that exposure, that immersion into another culture at such a young age, planted the seed of anthropology in my head.”

In her current work, Carnes-McNaughton said archaeologists are able to engage with folks who have direct connections to this land as well as others who want to know more about the people of the past.

She goes on to say, “One of our current responsibilities is working with federally-recognized Indian Nations who once called the Sandhills their homelands. Building respectful long-term relationships with these heritage families enhances our understanding of this landscape and its vital natural resources.”
“The term ‘heritage families’ refers to families whose ancestors we know from documentation and oral histories once lived on this landscape. Their ancestors could have been Native Americans, or early colonists or former enslaved Africans who lived here, raised families here and may have died here, and are buried in one of our 26 early historic cemeteries. The work we do in discovering people of the past is greatly enhanced by the families’ histories shared by descendants. Often, we can share what we learn about an old farm or house site with descendants and they will then share their knowledge with us.”

At this point in her career, she has been on nearly 100 digs, most of those in the southeastern United States, but primarily in North Carolina.

“Once I was fortunate enough to do a small survey in Northern Ireland on historic pottery manufacturing sites. Over the years, I worked as an archaeologist for university-sponsored field projects, private-consulting agencies, and state- and now, federal-government programs,” she said.

“The sites ranged in age from prehistoric times to historic cultural periods; sites like 2000-year old soapstone quarry sites, to 19th century tar kilns, or early pottery kiln sites, to battlefield sites, home sites, colonial towns, prehistoric village sites, some cemeteries and even work on pirate shipwrecks.”

Carnes-McNaughton co-authored the book “Blackbeard’s Sunken Treasure: The 300-year Voyage of Queen Anne’s Revenge,” with Mark U. Wilde-Ramsing. She really enjoyed working on the project. “I specialize in material culture studies (the artifacts – how they are made, what they date to, what they are used for, how they get recycled and who used them).”

She began as a volunteer on the shipwreck project looking at the pottery and glass recovered on this 1718 site. Then, the work expanded into examining items of personal gear such as items of clothing, smoking pipes, ornamentation like beads and buttons, buckles, etc., as well as navigational equipment, and then cooking or galley artifacts and finally into the realm of maritime medicines such as looking at medical equipment found on the wreck.

“All this research led to a better understanding of who is represented by the artifacts, leaning more about activities that took place and how the remains of the wreck ended up on the ocean floor,” Carnes-McNaughton said. “My co-author was the former QAR project director, an underwater and we realized that between us we made a great team to document what has been found on this important shipwreck. I enjoy this research as much as I enjoy pottery research.”

Working outdoors has always appealed to Carnes-McNaughton and excavation has always been her preferred avenue of discovery. She enjoys the fieldwork the most but also enjoys interaction with the people (descendants and others) who have a vested interest in the history of the Sandhills and pre-Fort Bragg landscape. She also likes starting a conversation by sharing a single artifact and talking about what it means to different people. That is oftentimes very intriguing.

“If I had to pick one single site that was a life-changing experience it was helping to excavate the oldest European-style pottery kiln found in North America, the 1566 kiln at the Spanish fort site of Santa Elena on Parris Island, South Carolina.” said Carnes-McNaughton. “That was sheer delight.”

Carnes-McNaughton encourages others to explore the field in which she has found a rewarding career.

“Archaeology is important science in that it helps us look at the past in order to understand the present and future of our place on this planet. Being an archaeologist means looking at the world around us in a different perspective. We learn to be humanists at the same time we practice our science.”

Pictured above: Linda Carnes-McNaughton is an archaeologist on Fort Bragg. (Photos courtesy Fort Bragg Garrison PAO)

Fiveash brings a passion for service to the Greater Fayetteville Chamber

14 headshotShari Fiveash moved to Fayetteville earlier this year to start her new role as the President and CEO of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber.

“I am new in this role in Fayetteville, but I have done nonprofit management for chambers and associations for a little over 30 years now,” she said.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Design at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Fiveash spent her career in roles with multiple chambers, economic development, nonprofits, visitor bureaus, association in management positions and event hotel management.

“A design degree you wouldn’t have thought would work but has worked very well in my position,” she said. “I have helped design a welcome center in Missouri, I was the lead contractor for a remodel of a chamber in Kentucky, so I have used my degree but just not straight up, and you never know what's going to lead you to what you
really like.”

Since moving to North Carolina from Connecticut, Fiveash has been taking on her role as Chamber president with enthusiasm and a respect for local organizations and businesses.

“Once you get into it, you kind of get a passion for that nonprofit and hospitality and kind of do that service thing,” Fiveash said.

“It’s kind of addictive, you get attached to it because you enjoy working with people and the opportunity to meet new people and not doing the same thing every day.”

Originally Fiveash had looked at job opportunities in Georgia and South Carolina which weren’t the exact fit and wasn’t sure of the position in Fayetteville, before she met the people and that’s what sold her on being here, she mentioned.

“It was just a really nice group of people I spoke with, it was just the right situation,” Fiveash said.

The Greater Fayetteville Chamber acts as the catalyst in growing a healthy business community through advocacy of business-friendly public policy, fostering of diverse innovative business initiatives, delivering valuable programs and services to the community.

The Chamber’s origins can be traced back to 1899 and has functioned under various names for 100 years.

“This Chamber is coming out of COVID just like a lot of businesses, we were down staffed, and we took a hit just like everyone else did so we are picking up the pieces and coming back together and trying to regroup so I am doing a lot of jobs that I might not normally be doing,” she said. “We are trying to grow back and open up and do all kinds of things.”

Due to those reasons, Fiveash said she’s currently wearing lots of hats that she wouldn’t normally have on and there’s no average day for her as they are still rebuilding.

Her day involves a lot of answering questions and reaching out to people, a lot of operations and marketing, she said.

“So everything’s changed a little bit due to COVID and we’re trying to bring everything back up and dust them off and change them up a little bit and make everything bigger and better,” Fiveash mentioned.

After starting her position, she’s focused on regrouping and has helped celebrate the Army’s birthday, the business networking breakfast, coffee clubs and more.

“The Chamber's main purpose is to help keep the economy strong in our community,” Fiveash said. “We help businesses grow, thrive, network with educational opportunities, resources and more so that they have the opportunity to prosper and help our community to do so also.”

Her main job function is working for the directors of the chamber, by taking their vision and applying her experience to help craft it and lead the business community in the right direction, she mentioned.

The Great Fayetteville Chamber belongs to the state and national chamber, and has a government committee that does lobbying and stays aware of the different things on different levels for businesses and the community. The Chamber also helps the community take up leadership positions in local government.

“Right now there’s a lot of open positions on different committees in the city, county, and so we have a program called Leadership Fayetteville where we try to educate people and encourage them to not so much be political figures but to give up their time, talent and service to our community,” Fiveash said.

A part of her vision as the new president and CEO of the chamber is to implement new programs.

“One of the things I discussed with the government relations group is Washington Fly-In, where you go see many legislators in D.C. which I think have a viable impact and value,” Fiveash said. “Another program I would like to see happen here is where we teach kids to make business plans, a joint effort with the school system and small businesses.”

She wants to see young entrepreneurs grow and teach them the value of staying in the community.

“We’ve got some great colleges and teaching kids there is great opportunity here and continue to grow our community with some young entrepreneurs, keep growing our economy that would be very valuable,” she mentioned.

In her free time, Fiveash says she enjoys the beach, loves a good bargain, estate sales and auctions as well as drawing and painting which she hopes to get back into as time permits. She is also a Rotarian.

Every one of her past roles have been different from each other, but all focus on service and helping the community stay prosperous and grow, she says.

“I would say seeing a community grow and blossom is what inspires me,” Fiveash added. “This community is growing and changing, it's just on the cusp, it could be so much more and I think that potential is there, but they just need a little push and a nudge over the edge to make some big leaps.”

Pictured above: Shari Fiveash is the President and CEO of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber.

New coach brings experience and heart to women's basketball at FTCC

09 Peace Easton 1400x1484Coaches play a pivotal role in the lives of their players and they carry the huge responsibility of having to develop them as individuals and athletes. Peace Shepard Easton is qualified, willing, and more than ready for this responsibility and challenge as the new coach for Fayetteville Tech’s women’s basketball.

Her extensive background began with her start in playing recreational basketball in her elementary years. During her middle and high school years, she played basketball, ran track and participated in volleyball. Volleyball was one of her top sports and she was also good in track and field with the triple jump, high jump, long jump and 4x400 relay.

Easton excelled in all three sports and graduated from Swansboro High School in 1993. She attended basketball camps and was recruited by several colleges in the ACC.

Easton attended N. C. State where she played for Coach Kay Yow. In her senior year, Eaton helped the Wolfpack make it to the NCAA Final Four. She also played professional basketball after college overseas in Italy, Brazil, Honduras, Ecuador, Finland and Greece.

Her awards include Coach of the Year, Hall of Fame inductee, MVP, numerous state championships, state playoffs and more. Easton was previously the coach of Holly Springs High School for seven years. While there, Easton racked up 100 wins and earned conference coach of the year honors three times and lead the program to four conference chanpionships and five state playoffs.

With having the substantial experience of more than thirty-something years of coaching and playing basketball FTCC Athletic Director Dr. Shannon Yates gave Easton the opportunity to lead the Trojans.

“I am looking forward to being their influencer, coach, big sister and mentor,” said Easton.

“By having been a high school student, a college basketball player, a professional basketball player, and a coach, I don’t have all the answers, but I can at least guide the ladies in the right direction to do the right thing because I have been through it.”

She added, “I understand the struggles of being a high school basketball player from a small town trying to be noticed.”

Easton had a life changing experience during her childhood.

“My father had a stroke when I was in the 8th grade so I was living in a home where my mom took care of my dad,” said Easton. “He is paralyzed on his right side, can’t talk, and nothing has changed besides he has gotten older and has become more dependent on my mom who has been the best wife that any husband could actually have.”

"People didn’t know that I have always assisted her in the background and a lot of people did not know that I had all of this going on in the spotlight with basketball,” said Easton.

“They never knew that I was coming home to a mother who was taking care of my father, showed me how to make lemons out of lemonade, and she is my biggest influencer.”

Coach Easton earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and spends time working in health services.

“At the moment I have worked for five years with UNC and I have been working with Medicare claims,” said Easton.

“So basically I assist providers as far as getting their claims paid in regards to if it is going to be covered by Medicare, the patient, or hospice.”

Easton added that she has been in health care since she graduated from high school and started out at Sigma.

Coach Easton has great plans for Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Women’s basketball team.

“I just want to make a difference as far as trying to get kids to the next step and using my background, connections and networks that I have created in the past,” said Easton.

“I made a lot of relationships and I want to take advantage of that because there are a lot of people that I know who are college coaches in any realm of Division I, II and III.”

She added, “I want to take those relationships and help make the lives better for my athletes.”

When asked what is the one thing that people would be surprised to know about her, she responded, “They would be surprised to know that I am very shy and I don’t like public speaking or being in the spotlight, but there is something about when I get on the court and start coaching, it just leaves me,” said Easton. “There is no fear at all and I am in my element at that time, but I like for someone else to do the speaking and I will tell them thanks for doing a great job.”

As far as beginning her first season at FTCC, Easton was quick to share her thoughts: “I am very proud and excited to be given the opportunity in the college world to coach,” said Easton. “It has always been a dream of mine.”

Pictured above: Peace Shepard Easton brings decades of experience to her role as head coach of FTCC's women's basketball. (Photos courtesy Fayetteville Technical Community College)

 

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