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 9 A life-long Cumberland County educator has died. James McNeill "Mac" Williams, 88, who served as a CCS teacher, principal, district administrator, and member of the Cumberland County Board of Education, passed away Dec. 6. From his days as a classroom teacher to his tenure as an associate superintendent and school board member in Cumberland County Schools, Williams was an advocate for children, educators and staff. "Mr. Williams' tireless work in education will forever be remembered by all who were posi- tively impacted by his extraordinary leader- ship," a statement from the Cumberland County Schools Administration said. Post-holiday school resumption delayed With students scheduled to return to school on a staggered Plan B schedule beginning Jan. 7, Cumberland County Schools Superinten- dent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., has decided to adjust the school re-entry schedule to allow for a two-week virus incubation period after the holidays. "We realize that there are many factors to consider around this transition," said Dr. Connelly. "All things considered, student and staff safety and well-being are our number one priority." Based on a comprehensive view of numerous factors that include a rise in the community spread of COVID and its poten- tially significant increase after the holidays, CCS is adjusting its re-entry dates to include a two-week post-holiday quarantine period. "We feel that a two-week incubation period would help us enter Plan B with decreased risk of COVID-19 transmission as a result of staff and student interaction over the holidays," Connelly added. e actual re-entry plans and proce- dures remain the same; however, the dates have been adjusted. VA to resume collection of medical debts e Department of Veterans Affairs intends to resume billing veterans for medical debts they have accumulated. e VA paused doing so nine months ago. VA Press Secretary Christina Noel said that while the VA has the authority to continue deferring debt collections, the depart- ment will still restart collections the first of the year. e department started postponing debt collections in April because of widespread job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. e agency extended the deferment until Dec. 31. But earlier this month, the VA sent letters to veterans notifying them of their outstanding balances. "If they are unable to repay the debt or if doing so would cause a financial hard- ship, VA can work with individuals to provide relief based upon their unique circumstance." Millions of Americans have lost jobs during the pandemic, and food and housing insecu- rity have increased significantly. e veteran unemployment rate rose in November to 6.3%. In March, before the economic effects of the pandemic took hold, veteran unemployment was 3.8%. Cape Fear Valley earns 'A' for patient safety Cape Fear Valley Medical Center has been awarded an 'A' grade for patient safety by e Leapfrog Group, recognizing the hospital's efforts in protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare. e grade was an- nounced for the spring 2020 Leapfrog Hos- pital Safety Grade scoring period. Cape Fear Valley Medical Center has scored an A for six straight grading periods. e Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. e Safety Grade assigns a letter grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in prevent- ing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infec- tions and other harms to patients in their care. Developed under the guidance of a national ex- pert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. e Hospital Safety Grade's methodology is peer- reviewed and fully transparent. To see Cape Fear Valley Medical Center's full grade details and to access patients tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org. 82nd Airborne paratroopers remember Saint Mere-Eglise e annual tradition of 82nd Airborne Divi- sion troops visiting a French village which the Division repatriated during World War II was cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Instead, paratroopers held a virtual unboxing of postcards from the people of Sainte Mère-Ég- lise, France, in a continuation of the Division's relationship with the village that began on the morning of June 6, 1944 — D-Day. ousands of 82nd soldiers descended on the village and surrounding countryside as part of the Allied invasion of Normandy. Sainte-Mère-Église was the first French village liberated from Nazi oc- cupation that day. An American flag went up in front of the town hall after the paratroopers secured the town. In years prior to the pan- demic members of the Division participated in regular commemorative events in the village. "e most humbling experience of all is going back and spending time with the people of the respective villages," said Capt. Darren Cinatl, who participated in a 2019 commemorative event in Normandy. Soldiers from the Division packaged and sent full-color unit patches via mail to the town's children over the summer, who reciprocated by sending a box full of holi- day cards to the unit headquarters. Retired school board member dies by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS DIGEST JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. James McNeill "Mac" Williams

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