Up & Coming Weekly

December 29, 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 DECEMBER 30, 2020 - JANUARY 5, 2021 UCW 15 County Chairman lists priorities for new year by CHARLES EVANS The COV ID-19 pandemic dominated 2020 and affected how we live, how we work and how we educate our children. It has been said t hat fruit grows in t he valley, not on t he mountaintop. Wit h t he pandemic, we have been in a valley of hardship for most of 2020, but we are work ing to meet t his ongoing challenge head-on w it h our resources, our innovation and most of all, our people. Nearly ever y indiv idual, business and public and private institution has been forced to adapt to COV ID-19. A nd during t his ongoing journey toward a normalcy t hat still seems far off, Cumberland Count y has adapted and found ways to continue ser v ing our citizens. My fellow Cumberland Count y Commissioners and I, along w it h t he managers and employees of Cumberland Count y Government, remain committed to our obligations and responsibilities. Our Public Healt h Department has been t he lead agency in t he Count y's f ight against t he spread of COV ID. In addition to managing testing sites, conducting t housands of con- tact-tracing investigations, and kee- ping t he public informed, t he Healt h Department has maintained operating hours for t heir clinics and launched a new initiative in partnership w it h t he Fort Bragg Department of Public Healt h and UNC-Greensboro designed to reduce food insecurit y and change t he food access systems in Cumberland Count y and Fort Bragg. Our emergency management off icials have worked quiet ly behind t he scenes coordinating shipments and distributi- on of supplies and equipment, assisting in establishing testing locations and food distribution sites. Count y operations adopted to wor- k ing v irtually and assisting citizens by phone and email or by scheduling one- on-one appointments. The Board of Elections recruited and trained hundreds of indiv iduals who answered t he call to work at our electi- ons sites t his fall to ensure we had safe in-person voting t hat followed social distancing and ot her protocols and t hey processed t housands of absentee ballots. To address t he economic impact, t he Count y commissioners approved grant funding to help small businesses and allocated funds for v irtual learning centers for communit y-based organi- zations. There were ot her achievements as well. Cumberland Count y's Emergency Ser v ices 911 Communications Center received t he Emergency Fire Dispatch accre- ditation from t he International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. The com- missioners and count y manager were recognized w it h valor awards for work on t he f ire ser v ice fun- ding model and t he FTCC Fire and Rescue Training Center. Spectra Venue Management hired a company to con- duct a market ana- lysis and feasibilit y study for a new performing arts center to replace t he Crow n Theatre and A rena. The pande- mic put t he study on pause, and we are look ing for ward to receiv ing t he report when it is complete. The Board of Commissioners approved a resolution against racial injustice and created a Diversit y, Equit y and Inclusion com- mittee of employees from a cross sec- tion of Count y departments. Toward year's end, Cumberland Count y unveiled a new branding plat- form featuring t he aut hentic and aspi- rational tagline – Toget her, We Can – which w ill be a g uiding principle for t he organization as we move into 2021. As Count y Commissioners, we have t he honor to lead t his count y on t he pat h of a better future for all our citi- zens. As we prepare to go into a new year, we w ill move for ward w it h les- sons t hat we have learned over t he last couple of years. As chairman, my commitment to t he board and t he citizens is t hat I w ill support programs t hat help lift people, help boost local small business, help students in public, private, charter and home schools, and ensure t hat our ta x dollars are used responsibly, transpa- rent ly and w it h good stewardship. One of my priorities is to establish a plan to identif y and assist t he homeless in our communit y w it h a one-stop cen- ter designed to help members of our homeless communit y locate and access resources t hroughout Cumberland Count y. Ot her priorities include: •Supporting clean and healt hy water in t he Gray's Creek area, as well as t hroughout Cumberland Count y. •Encouraging t he development and construction of a Performing A rts Center. •Completing a new 911 and Emergency Operations Center and a state-of-t he-art Fire and Rescue training center in partnership w it h Fayettev ille Technical Communit y College. •Enhancing communication and transparency by live streaming all commissioners' agenda or committee meetings. •Work ing w it h t he nine municipali- ties and t he legislative delegation to ensure our collective voices are heard and t hat t hey impact t he decisions t hat impact our lives. I encourage ever yone to take heart. There is a light at t he end of t he tunnel, but we are not out of t he tunnel yet. I encourage you to hang on, remain strong and support one anot her w it h love and self lessness. Toget her, We Can. Commissioner Charles Evans COMMUNITY VOICES CHARLES EVANS, Chairman, Cumberland County Board of Commis- sioners. Comments? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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