Up & Coming Weekly

December 11, 2018

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM DECEMBER 12-18, 2018 UCW 11 A bill introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly 1 1/2 years ago could have given Fayetteville City Council more autonomy in awarding construction bids to local and minority businesses. e measure, sponsored by Democrat Sen. Ben Clark, amended the Fayetteville City Charter, establishing a Small Busi- ness Enterprise program "to promote the development of small businesses in the Fayetteville Metropolitan Statistical Area and to enhance opportunities for small businesses to participate in city contracts." But the SBE program does not include the monetary incentives given to the cities of Durham and Charlotte in earlier legislation. e local statute allows Fayetteville City Council to give more preference to local bidders, especially businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans. ey comprise what the government calls disadvantaged business enterprises or historically underutilized businesses. In a report released early last year, the city said that of $65.7 million worth of city contracts in an eight-month period, only 35 percent went to local companies. e Fayetteville area "just doesn't have the capac- ity to lure small, local businesses to bid on major projects," said city of Fayetteville Purchasing Man- ager Kimberly Toon. As a result, almost half of the money went to out-of-state companies, the analysis showed. Fayetteville's small business enterprise program can solicit bids from local companies only for small contracts that do not exceed $30,000, Toon said. In 2011, the legislature allowed the city of Dur- ham to limit bidding to local small businesses for construction contracts up to $500,000. Fayetteville officials have sought additional lo- cal hiring authorization for years, but the city is hamstrung by state laws that require it to approve the lowest qualified bids, regardless of where the companies are from. To counter that, Toon said Fayetteville casts its net farther than it used to. "We make sure everyone in the (metro- politan statistical area) receives a copy of the proposal before it goes out for bid." Durham has been unable to reach its goal of 25 percent of contract work staying local. e city reached 21 percent last year, offi- cials said. Fayetteville has only the power of persuasion on its side and an enthusiastic purchasing office. Officials ask that bidders make a good faith effort to hire minorities and veterans. Toon noted that representa- tives of all local governments meet monthly to identify strengths and weaknesses of the local work force and economy. "It's a group effort," she said. Fayetteville City Councilman Larry Wright is dissatisfied with state regula- tions that hamper efforts to incentivize local businesses to seek business from city government. Toon said many minority small-busi- ness owners routinely deal with a lack of bonding capability or the presence of mandatory insurance minimums. She said her staff conducts classes for interested businessmen and women to put them in a better position to bid. Fayetteville business capacity limited by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COM- MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200. Fayetteville officials have sought additional local hiring authorization for years, but the city is hamstrung by state laws. U.S. military working dogs are possibly the most unsung members of the fighting force. ey and their handlers from every military service are de- ployed worldwide to support all kinds of missions. Hundreds of dogs have been used to aid troops in Afghanistan since the U.S. arrived in 2001 to oust the Taliban from power. ey train for a variety of tasks, including detecting explosives and apprehending combatants. About 1,600 dogs are either in the field or helping veterans, the military said. An Army ranger and his dog were killed during a recent clash in Afghanistan, military officials confirmed after the dog's unofficial biography began circulating on social media. e dog, named Maiko, and Sgt. Leandro Jasso — whose death was previously reported — were fatally wounded during a raid against al-Qaida militants on Nov. 24, military officials said. Jasso, 24, and his dog were hit by gunfire during a mission to take out Al-Qae- da-affiliated militants. e 7-year-old war dog was leading Rangers into a compound when at least one militant fired at him, revealing the militant's position, which the Rang- ers then targeted, according to the dog's biography. Like many of his human counterparts, Maiko had served several tours in Afghanistan and conducted more than 50 Ranger-led raids, the biography said. While many dogs train for specific tasks, multi- purpose canines like Maiko are highly skilled and must undergo a rigorous selection process. Maiko had been trained in patrolling, tracking, bomb de- tection and apprehension functions. On July 27, 2013, the first bronze statue of a Special Operations Force K9 was unveiled on the grounds of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. More than 2,000 people gathered to honor brave K9s and remember what they have done for our country. e statue depicts a life-size Belgian Malinois wearing its full deploy- ment kit. Special Operations Forces dogs are called su- per dogs. ey parachute from planes with their handlers and can track enemy forces in difficult conditions. Most U.S. military war dogs are German and Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois breeds, said Army Col. David Rolfe, director of the Defense Department's Military Working Dog Program. at's also true of K9s involved in police work. e Fayetteville Police Department's dogs are bred and initially trained in Europe. e breeds are high-strung, "very aggressive, very smart, very loyal and very athletic," Rolfe said. Dogs have long been recognized as "force multipliers" by military fighting forces around the world for genera- tions, Rolfe noted. Egyptians, Greeks, Persians and Romans used war dogs. e Roman Empire, starting with Marcus Aurelius, used dogs in combat. e now extinct Molossus dog was the strongest breed known to the Romans and was specifically trained for battle. e Romans often coated them in protective spiked metal collars and chain mail armor, arranging them into attack formations. e first official use of dogs for military purposes in the United States was during the Seminole Wars. A special breed by JEFF THOMPSON On July 27, 2013, the first bronze statue of a Special Operations Force K9 was unveiled on the grounds of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.

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