Up & Coming Weekly

November 16, 2021

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 9 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NOVEMBER 17-23, 2021 UCW 9 Redistricting of congressional and legislative seats has created a political opportunity for former Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson. He announced on Facebook that he will run for Congress in the newly drawn 4th Congressional District. Robertson served three terms as mayor from 2013 to 2019. e new district includes all of Cumberland, Sampson and Johnston counties, as well as portions of Harnett and Wayne counties. Robertson is running as a Repub- lican candidate."ere is no current incumbent running in this district, and hopefully no one else from Cumberland County will file," Robertson said. He is a businessman and currently works for Cin- tas, an Ohio-based services company that provides uniforms, cleaning supplies and safety equipment. As mayor, Robertson oversaw Fayetteville's efforts to build a minor league baseball stadium and secure funding for the I-295 freeway. School bus drivers protest low wages e Cumberland County school system is among several school districts dealing with school bus driv- ers who want higher pay. e numbers vary day-to- day, but on a typical morning this month, a school district spokesman said 315 buses picked up chil- dren. Normally, 438 buses operate morning routes. Last Tuesday, more than 100 school bus drivers called in sick and did not show up for their shift in protest. Some drivers from other schools were able to assist schools without drivers. School buses usu- ally take as many as 17,000 students to school each morning.e current starting pay for all bus drivers is $12.21. Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr. said that there will need to be an annual $6 million budget they can set aside before drivers can receive a raise. Fort Bragg soldier's murder turns cold It's not often that law enforcement agencies give up investigations. But the death of Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division "is in a cold case status," according to Jeffrey Castro, an Army Criminal Investigation Division spokesman. Martinez was reported missing on May 23, 2020, at North Carolina's Cape Lookout National Seashore. Roman-Martinez's severed head washed ashore six days later. "After exhausting hundreds of leads and thousands of hours of investigation, there are no more credible investigative leads remaining at this time," Castro added. Roman-Martinez's family has expressed concerns that the apparent murder of their family member may never be resolved. U.S. House Rep. Norma Tor- res has been in touch with the family since his death. "I think that we owe our personnel at the very least and their families the respect of giving them an- swers," Torres wrote in a letter to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. "I'm not satis- fied that the Army CID has done everything in their power to solve this case." Department of Social Services gets new director Cumberland County Social Services Director Bren- da Reid Jackson is retiring at the end of the year. e Social Services Board of Directors has hired Heather L. Skeens to succeed Jackson beginning Dec. 6. "Brenda Jackson has worked tirelessly for our county's most vulnerable citizens over the last 13 years, and we are grateful for the impact her service has had across the county," said County Manager Amy Cannon. Skeens is currently Guilford County's Health and Human Services Director but previously served in Cumberland County as DSS Deputy Director. She will oversee the administration of one of the largest social services agencies in North Carolina. Cumberland County DSS has more than 700 employ- ees and a fiduciary budget of over $600 million. Fort Bragg RSO collects anksgiving meals for soldiers e Fort Bragg Religious Support Office organized a anksgiving Build-A-Meal Campaign on post to help support soldiers and family members who are in need. With the help of 71 volunteers earlier this month at the All American Chapel, the RSO helped build 1,631 anksgiving food bags and is giving out 1,269 $25 commissary gift cards. Included in the bags of food are stuffing, yams, green beans, potatoes and cranberry sauce. "e anksgiving meal bags are to provide meals for those soldiers and families who are in great need this year," Col. Julie Rowan, Fort Bragg garrison chaplain, said. "ese meals were accessible through the Unit Ministry Teams here at Fort Bragg." e bags of food will be distributed to soldiers and their families on Nov. 19. PWC issues $95 million in bonds e Fayetteville Public Works Commission has issued $94.79 million of revenue bonds at an interest rate of 2.278%, the lowest public rate ever achieved by PWC. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. bought the bond series. PWC issued the bonds to fund improve- ments to its electricity, water and wastewater utili- ties, including $22 million to retrofit utilities in the City of Fayetteville's Phase V annexation area. "e low cost of borrowing helps PWC maintain highly-reliable utility services and demonstrates the strength of Fayetteville's utility system," said PWC General Manager, Elaina Ball. Fitch Ratings has assigned and affirmed an "AA" rating to bonds issued by Fayetteville's Public Works Commission. e rating reflects PWC's very strong financial per- formance characterized by very low leverage, strong operating cash flow and healthy liquidity, Fitch Rat- ings said. Nat Robertson announces run for Congress by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS DIGEST JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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