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Fly Fayetteville!

02aeroplaneCOLOR I must have missed something along the way when it comes to knowing what is going on with all the grumblings about our airport. I thought our airport commission and the staff at Fayetteville Regional Airport were doing a pretty good job, considering the makeup and nature of our community and the challenges that small, regional airports like Fayetteville face from rising operating costs and competition from the larger, more aggressive metropolitan airports.

For business and pleasure, mostly business, I have flown out of our airport dozens of times over the years. Prices have always been competitive and the service satisfactory. The most favorable factor of all has been convenience.

Rarely have I had to travel to Raleigh for a destination — however, when I have had to, it was costlier after accounting for my time, travel, gas and parking. I never have, nor would I ever, choose to fly out of Raleigh for the personal convenience of avoiding layovers.

Besides, from a business point of view, needless effort is time-consuming and costly to a company, though state, city and county governments may not be that concerned about such wasteful spending.

Case in point: Depending on where you live in Fayetteville or Cumberland County, it is about 77 miles to Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh. It takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes to arrive at the terminal in normal traffic. And, as everyone is well aware, there is nothing normal about Raleigh traffic.

At best, you can get your car parked in a remote lot, wait on a shuttle to deliver you to the terminal, and, even if you are in the possession of an electronic ticket, you still face going through TSA’s security before taking that hike to your departure gate.

So, now that we know the routine, let’s say your flight leaves Raleigh at 10 a.m. and you want to arrive at the departure gate at least 30 minutes before that. What time would you have to leave Fayetteville? Let’s see:

Drive to airport (no traffic) — 75 minutes

Park car and shuttle to terminal — 25minutes

Ticket counter or kiosk for seat assignment— 20 minutes

Security with TSA, shoes, belt, laptop —20 minutes

Trek down to departure gate — five minutes

Total time — two hours and 42 minutes

If you need to check your baggage, that’s another 10 minutes. Let’s just say twoand- a-half hours for this exercise. So, to be sitting comfortably at the departure gate by 9:30 a.m., you would have to be on the road by 7 a.m. without complications. This means you would probably have to wake up at least by 6:15 a.m.

That’s time, and time is money. Let’s talk money from a business point of view. I assume that if you are in business, your time is valuable. And, now the decision has been made that you are going to spend 2.5 hours getting to your departure gate in Raleigh.

Let’s evaluate the cost: salary, benefits, etc. If you make $35 per hour x 2.5 hours, that’s $87.50. Now, add a mileage charge of 53.5 cents for 77 miles traveled. That equals $41.20. Multiply those numbers by two because you still have to drive home, and don’t forget to add a modest parking fee of $20. Total cost to the business or government: $277.40.

Now, just how much cheaper was that ticket out of RDU? Is $277.40 plus 5 hours of frustration and anxiety worth avoiding a layover for personal convenience? Not to me. Besides, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize the commission or airport staff for an underperforming facility when ignoring the facts and realities of the situation.

The most obvious of these facts is that airlines, like all other for-profit businesses, are not going to come into our market just because we want them to, ask them to or need them to. The only reason they are going to locate their business in Fayetteville is if they can make a profit.

Allegiant Airlines didn’t last six months, and United Airlines, which recently pulled out, really should have known better than to think flying into Washington Dulles International Airport was going to capture the lucrative military market from Fort Bragg. WDI is 27 miles from the Pentagon. That’s an hour’s drive on a good day. The Pentagon is only 2 miles from Reagan International and a five-minute Uber ride. No, I think Fayetteville City Council needs to cut our airport commission, staff and management a little slack and back off the micro-management.

Let our airport succeed or fail of its own volition. After all, we can’t expect an airline company to come in and serve the Fayetteville community if we claim to be an “airline dessert.” Yeah. “Airline dessert.” You remember, just like the food dessert we had out on Murchison Road, where residents didn’t have anywhere to purchase milk, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, or lottery tickets.

In that situation, Walmart came to the rescue in November 2015 by building a Neighborhood Market, thinking it was winning the economic jackpot by developing an untapped market while doing a good deed for the community by serving humanity. In less than three years, Walmart pulled out after acknowledging the reality that forced Winn-Dixie to exit the area in 1998. Not enough people shopped there.

Everyone was sad and disappointed over the Walmart situation, and as a result, many words were spoken and written about the unfortunate nature of what happened. Yet few could produce any evidence that they supported or patronized the store.

Well, the same goes for the airport. If we readily admit that we have a second-rate facility, and if our leadership thinks flying out of RDU is cheaper, more convenient and more enjoyable with greater amenities, then don’t expect the commission, staff or consultants at FAY to effect the outcome. Let’s continue to support the airport commission and upgrade the facility as much as we can afford to. However, shining turnstiles, faster escalators and convenient coffee shops will not entice airline carriers to serve Fayetteville unless they can make money.

A profit, in addition to aggressive, consistent and continual awareness and marketing, is what the airport needs to tell its story. And, everyone needs to tell it — the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation, city officials, county officials, and most of all, the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

After all, there are 1,300 to 1,500 new families moving in and out of Cumberland County every month. Most don’t even know we have an airport. Who’s telling them to go to Raleigh? Let’s tell them why they should fly out of Fayetteville. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let’s start telling our story. Fly Fayetteville!

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2019: A great time to be grateful

Screen Shot 2019 01 08 at 10.43.22 AM  If you’re reading this, congratulations— you made it! We’re a week into a brand-new year, complete with thoughts of its challenges, of what victories lie ahead and of the memories gone by. Over the past year, many of us celebrated the joy and excitement of new life, some experienced the sadness of loss, and, if we’re at all alike, we’ve done our best to be a friend offering encouragement in the wake of both the best and worst of times.

If nothing else, 2018 gave me opportunity once again to acknowledge the fact we’re all just passing through. We get, we give, we have and we hold, but in the end we arrive at the same humbling conclusion — everything on this earth is temporary. While we build mighty castles to wall us in or monuments to all we consider great, the only true legacy we leave will be found in how we loved.

Over time I’ve learned to loosen my grip on the things I think I control lest they begin to control me in return. And I am reminded there is a time and season for everything and a marvelous creator who steadies and stills us though it all.

I don’t want to beat a depressingly melancholy drum too long, so let’s peer down the road from these first few days of 2019 with the knowledge that we have choices. We can each choose to see a winding road strewn with rocks, slopes and unknown peril around each bend. Or, we can look a little further to the beauty of the horizon with the realization the road itself is a journey worth taking. Each step brings us closer to something new and often leads us away from things familiar.

In either case, we take those steps both challenged and comforted by an immensely wise creator who seems to say, “Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of my hand!”

You may have entered 2019 without making a resolution or a promise, but there is plenty of positive change anyone can work on this year. Start by simply being grateful. Take stock in all you’ve already been given. More than food, a decent car, a home or stuff to fill it, count the blessings of family, friends and life itself.

At WCLN, our daily charge is to help bring relationships to life and deliver music filled with the good news that God loves every person in the world. We believe the two greatest things we could inspire anyone to do is to love God back and to love others more than themselves. That’s what makes Christian 105.7 different, and it will work for you, too.

Enjoy your family and friends today. Give extra hugs and words of love just because you can. Make the world a happier place by doing some extra act of kindness. Smile a little bit longer. Most importantly, be grateful for the life you’ve been given.

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What makes Best of Fayetteville unique?

02BestofFayburst2018For more than two decades, Up & Coming Weekly has told this community’s stories. We champion successes, support causes and initiatives and celebrate everything good about Fayetteville and Cumberland County. Once a year, though, we reach out to our readers through our Best of Fayetteville readership survey to ask what you love most about this area.

Do you have a favorite car wash/stylist/restaurant? Do you just love a particular nonprofit organization/entertainment venue/veterinarian? Now is your chance to tell us about it.

Voting lasts through the month of July. Visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com, and fill out a ballot online. Or, find a paper edition of Up & Coming Weekly and fill out the ballot and mail it in.

Once all the votes are counted, we throw a big party congratulating the winners, and we publish an entire issue celebrating them that resides on our website and in businesses all year long.

The Fayetteville Observer is currently running an entirely different program called the Reader’s Choice awards. This is NOT the same as Best of Fayetteville.

We launched the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during the month of July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer’s Reader’s Choice Awards, which is its advertising/sales promotion. This annual sales program has been in existence for 24 years, and until last year, the Observer ran it during September and announced its winners in October.

Even though our two programs are completely different in nature and purpose, to avoid reader confusion, we voluntarily agreed in 1997 to launch our Best of Fayetteville readership survey during the month of July and announce the winners in September. We haven’t changed.

The ballots are out now, and in September, we hope to see you at our complimentary Best of Fayetteville party as we congratulate the people, organizations and businesses that YOU name the “Best of the Best.”

Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising to promote or nominate specific businesses and organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we do encourage them to promote themselves and encourage their friends, family and customers to vote in Best of Fayetteville. Up & Coming Weekly does not sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases in pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot.

Up & Coming Weekly does no preballot advertising sales. After the survey is complete and the ballots are tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. The winners are given the opportunity to purchase advertising/marketing programs to thank their customers and supporters and to market and brand their companies, capitalizing on and taking advantage of their Best of Fayetteville achievement. These Best of Fayetteville advertising programs are unique and significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs – and it’s after they’ve won.

In addition to the beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they can use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all print advertising, radio, billboard, TV or social media advertising.

Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we manage it is what makes this program credible. Is it perfect? No. However, it has developed into one of this community’s most respectable and prestigious awards. It is the only readership survey that is partnered with the Greater Fayetteville Chamber and the Better Business Bureau.

If you have any questions about whether you’re participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else’s advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If the ballot has names already printed on it, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.

So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard!

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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FTCC works to ensure equal learning opportunities for all

14FTCC Individuals with disabilities have long struggled with and continue to struggle with a lack of appropriate assistance. Many who cope with physical or mental impairments have not always received appropriate assistance because of their limitations. As a consequence, career and educational options can seem dim for these individuals.

In the past, society offered little to no support related to jobs and educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This was primarily because of a lack of acceptance for those individuals coupled with problems in providing adequate accommodations for individuals who needed them.

Currently, our society agrees that it’s important to treat all people fairly. Acceptance is growing nationally for those who have disabilities. Many areas of government are inspiring and encouraging people to live rewarding lifestyles regardless of their situations or limitations. Federal and state laws are helping everyone reach for academic accomplishment and achievement.

Contemporary standards and regulations associated with the Americans with Disability Act protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination at federally funded colleges. Fayetteville Technical Community College collaborates with this initiative by providing students with quality, non-discriminatory education. FTCC’s Disability Support Services Office works hard to assure students that FTCC is working on their behalf.

Students who have documented psychological and medical disabilities often obtain services through FTCC’s Disability Support Services Office. FTCC provides these services, known as academic accommodations, to students at any time as needed during each semester. Accommodations depend on the student’s diagnosis.

A few examples of common accommodations students might receive include extended time on assessments, a separate setting for assessments, use of assistive technology, preferential classroom seating, extended time transitioning between classes and more.

Accommodations related to a student’s disability are determined according to the proper diagnostician and Office of the Civil Rights recommendations. Approvals for services are accessible through a straightforward application process for academic assistance.

FTCC ensures that faculty and staff employees throughout the college understand the importance of implementing ADA standards and regulations. FTCC also promotes assured methods of maintaining ADA compliance. FTCC also provides professional development opportunities and training for school personnel to verify policies and procedures are efficient and effective.

FTCC provides equal learning opportunities to all regardless of a student’s physical or mental impairment. An office representative from the Disability Support Services Office will be happy to assist current and future FTCC students with their inquiries about eligibility for receiving accommodations.

Students can sign up now for spring classes, which begin Jan. 14. For additional information, please email grooverc@faytechcc.edu or call 910-678-8479.

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