Up & Coming Weekly

November 17, 2020

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 NOVEMBER 18-24, 2020 UCW 9 e family of a fallen 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper got the keys to their new 'Hero Home' on Veterans Day. Operation Coming Home unveiled the new house in Wake County earlier for the family of the late Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz of Morovis, Puerto Rico. He was killed during combat operations September 5, 2019, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Barreto's widow and young children moved into the house Nov. 11 during a ceremony presented by Operation Coming Home and other organizations which built the home in Wendell for the family. "We are proud of him and his sacrifice," said Barreto's widow Legna Aponte. "is house means hope, it's healing and it's an honor because it's built because of my husband." Sgt. 1st Class Barreto was considered a hero by his compatriots. One of the soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan called him a great leader. "It was my first deployment, and I just built a relationship with him," said Domenic Canzano. "It's heartbreaking." Fayetteville Police morale is down Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins has publicly conceded that morale is low among officers while turnover is high. "Morale is low. It's low for a lot of different reasons," she told City Council recently. "But we still are resilient. We are still doing our job." She did not elaborate as to why she believes mo- rale is on the decline, but she also said retention of police personnel is a problem. e FPD's authorized strength is 434 sworn officers. e current turnover rate is 10% or 43 vacancies. Hawkins said 391 officers are currently on the payroll. Turnover rates and morale are linked. According to the Law Enforce- ment Management and Administrative Statistics, the average nationwide turnover rate of law enforcement officers is 10.8%. Fayetteville patrol officers work 12- hour shifts. Hawkins told city council that many em- ployees no longer think of police work as a 20-or-30- year career. Law Enforcement wages are higher than Fayetteville in many North Carolina cities. e chief has noted that that retention is a problem because Fayetteville cops earn a starting salary of $38,000 a year. Salaries in North Carolina's top five munici- pal police agencies are: Greenville $50,666; Raleigh $47,741; Smithfield $45,645; Jacksonville $45,597 and Apex $45,066. Driving in Robeson County is dangerous A social media campaign describing the dangers of unsafe driving will soon blitz neighboring Robe- son County. e campaign is part of an effort by the Robeson County Vision Zero task force to impress upon people just how dangerous speeding and driv- ing distracted or drunk is. Last year, 43 people lost their lives in crashes across the county. e number of traffic deaths in the county is on the rise this year. Robeson County is consistently ranked worst in the state for crashes, based on data compiled by NC- DOT. Task force chairman Grady Hunt said the N.C. Department of Transportation helped design the campaign's graphics and messages. "e task force is encouraging institutions, churches, nonprofits and other organizations across the county to use the social media tool kit and share the campaign materi- als on their social media platforms," he said. "Driving down these numbers will take everyone's effort." A tax by other name is a tax Starting Jan. 1, the Cumberland County Planning & Inspections Department will implement a higher fee schedule. It was adopted by the Board of Commis- sioners in June as part of the fiscal year 2021 budget. e county's planning and inspections fee structure has not been revised since 2011. e approved fees for 2021 were developed by analyzing the costs in other communities, and they remain on par with fees charged by comparable counties, Planning & Inspections Director Rawls Howard said. But the fees are going up. We "worked to create an all-inclusive permits structure that is...comprehensive in their application and reflective of our operational costs for service provision." e new fees are available online and can be compared with existing costs at http:// www.co.cumberland.nc.us/departments/ planning-group/planning. Fayetteville has money to give away Grant money is still available to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in the City of Fayetteville. To be eligible, businesses must employ low to moderate income personnel or, in the case of sole proprietors, meet the terms themselves. City Council recently allocated an additional $123,000 to the city's Small Business Retention Grant Program available from the Federal CARES Act. e Small Business Retention Grant Program has a total of $208,000 available. Since May, the grant program has distributed $370,000 to 44 small businesses and helped retain 162 jobs. 68% of approved grant recipi- ents are minority-owned businesspeople. e City's Economic and Community Development Depart- ment is accepting the grant applications at 910-433-1590. Local Army family gifted a new home by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS DIGEST JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Chief Gina V. Hawkins

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