Up & Coming Weekly

January 08, 2019

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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Page 11 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JANUARY 9-15, 2019 UCW 11 e North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics En- forcement is evaluating tan- gible evidence of voter fraud in Cumberland and Robeson counties. Robeson is one of the counties alleged to have been significantly involved in election irregularities in the 2018 9th Congressional District race. e state is investigat- ing allegations that Harry L. Faust, 34, of Fayetteville and Lumberton voted twice using different addresses. Documents obtained by Up & Coming Weekly purport that Faust registered and vot- ed first in Robeson County Oct. 22. An email sent by Cumberland County Board of Elections Director Teri Robertson to the state board of elections' chief investigator said Faust voted in Fayetteville, where he was already registered, Nov. 2. "at case is under investigation, and I cannot com- ment further," said Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the state board. ere is no apparent record of Faust living at the Cattail Court address in East Fayetteville that he claimed on registration documents. He is, however, a former resident of 785 Rose Ct. in Lumberton, which is the address he listed on forms there. Other public records indi- cate Faust is a registered sex offender. He spent a year in prison after being convicted in 2013 of taking indecent liberties with a child. He gave Rose Court as his ad- dress at that time. Robertson said that while reviewing duplicate voter information, a board of elections staffer found documentation that Faust had voted twice. e office of the state board says on its website that it "works in conjunction with County Boards of Elections to ensure that elections are con- ducted lawfully and fairly." It is unclear whether findings in the Faust case will be presented during an evidentiary hearing into allegations of misconduct during the 9th Congres- sional District election campaign. Among the allegations are that Bladen County businessman Leslie McCrea Dowless, who worked for Republican Mark Harris' campaign, coordi- nated an effort to collect and fill in, or discard, the ballots of Democratic voters who might have otherwise voted for Harris' opponent, Democrat Dan McCready. e board initially planned to hold the hearing Dec. 21, 2018, but it was rescheduled for Jan 11. Last week, the board put the hearing off again saying it needed more time to continue its investigation into illicit campaign activity. Harris beat McCready by 905 votes of 283,317 total votes cast. e elections board refused to certify the results, citing an unusually high number of requested absentee ballots, many of which were unreturned, in rural Bladen County and neighboring Robeson County. e 116th House of Representatives was sworn in Jan. 3 with a Democratic majority. e party flipped 40 seats in November. e local congressional district election is the only one undecided. e state board of elections appears to be leaning toward call- ing a new election to settle the issue. Harris' narrow victory over incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., in the Republican primary is also under scrutiny, with new attention on the disproportionate number of absentee ballots — 96 percent — that Harris won in Bladen County. Pit- tenger said he will not challenge Harris if a second primary is held. Evidence of voter fraud in the 9th Congressional District by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS Mark Harris JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. e North Carolina Department of Transportation had hoped to open a new section of Fayetteville's Outer Loop by Christmas. But DOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale said it will likely be summer or fall of this year before the segment from the All American Freeway to Cliffdale Road opens to traffic. "Fort Bragg wanted a way to get from a unit's motor pool straight to the training area and not have to go out and around (Interstate) 295," Barksdale said. "A bridge was too costly, so we are building a large enough tunnel — at a cost of $2 million — for the military vehicles to use to travel under I-295." Barksdale noted Fort Bragg for- mally requested the enhancement of the project, and DOT Secretary Jim Trogdon approved it. Trog- don is from Hope Mills and retired in 2016 as the Deputy Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard. A Fayetteville loop was first considered in 1977. But similar projects in Charlotte were given funding priority for several years. In 2005, the DOT received the I-295 designation as a future route with signs erected along initial sec- tions of the route soon after that. Changes made in 2014 downgraded the freeway to NC 295, a tempo- rary designation pending completion of the loop. e Outer Loop, as it is alternately known, improves connectivity between Fort Bragg and Interstate 95, a commitment the Army sought for decades. It also provides a new commuter route between the post and the city of Fayetteville. e final design takes the bypass 39 miles around the north, west and south sides of Fayetteville. Once the section to Cliffdale Road is completed, the next project awarded by DOT at a cost of $85.2 million will be a 3.1-mile stretch to Raeford Road. e final three legs of the beltway are being built simultaneously. A design-build concept makes it pos- sible for Barnhill Contracting Co., Sanford Construction, and HDR Engineering to work together and combine all aspects of the plan from design through construction under a single contract. Work includes replacing the Lake Rim runoff bridge over Bones Creek on Old Raeford Road. at frag- ment should be finished by May 2022. en comes Raeford Road to Camden Road. A contract is set to be awarded by DOT this month with construction to be completed by 2023. e final leg of the future inter- state is from Camden Road to I-95 South just below the Cumberland/ Robeson County line. at $129.7 million design-build contract has already been awarded to the Wilmington-based team of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc., Branch Civil Inc. and STV Engineers Inc. and has a scheduled completion of July 2021. When finished, I-295 will connect I-95 North and U.S. Highway 13 at Eastover to Fort Bragg. It then curves around Fayetteville and Hope Mills and reconnects to I-95 South above St. Pauls. Total cost will be $1 billion. I-295 sees design change at Fort Bragg by JEFF THOMPSON It will likely be summer or fall of this year before the segment from the All American Freeway to Cliffdale Road opens to traffic.

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