See Virginia Tech-ECU and help a family at Christmas

I have in my possession two tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Virginia Tech-ECU football game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Although the tickets are worth $60 each, we are going to hold a silent auction here on the blog; I’m starting the bidding at $80 for the pair. All the money raised from the silent auction will go to help a needy family at Christmas — we hold a yard sale every fall to do it, too, but we thought we’d do this to raise some money for the family, too, which is selected by good folks at the Salvation Army.

All you need to do is send me an email at until 2 p.m. tomorrow. I will update the bidding tonight and tomorrow, so be sure to check back here to see where the bid is up to. The winner of the bid needs to come by The Free Press office by 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, where you will have your picture taken and be given some additional Free Press goodies. Your picture will appear here on the blog and in a future edition of The Free Press.

Let’s get it on!


Help a fallen deputy’s family

You remember the deputy who was shot to death last year in Greene County? Some of his friends — including FOB Jagshouse (Daniel Jones) — are putting together a fund-raiser to help his family. The deputy, Jon-Michael Willis, left behind two young children and a fiancee, who is also the daughter of the Farmville Central baseball coach.

Our good friend and Free Press reporter Justin Hill will have a story in the paper in the next day or two about this, but I thought I’d go ahead and post the details from Jagshouse here:

Jon-Michael Willis Law Enforcement Foundation – “Night for Heroes”

  • Social and silent auction 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Dinner and reverse drawing 7 p.m. – until
  • Reverse drawing ticket $100.00 (includes steak dinner for 2)
  • Table sponsor $150, Table sponsor and reverse drawing ticket $200
  • T-shirts $15

Jon-Michael Willis gave his life on July 28, 2010 while answering a domestic disturbance call for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. He left behind two young children (Hevin and Dustin), his parents Mike and Hope and fiancée Laura.

Auction Items For the Jon Willis Foundation

Laptop computer

Car automatic starter

$50 dollar gift card to Texas Roadhouse

UNC sweatshirt

ECU Nike fleece

Authentic Pittsburgh Steelers helmet

Picture ECU Vs. WVU Football game

Picture ECU Vs. UNC Football game

ECU baseball jersey signed by coaches

ECU baseball helmet signed by coaches

Shoes and Gloves signed by Derrick Cox of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Roman Gabriel signed football/pictures

Dwayne Harris signed Football

Dominique Davis signed Football from Military Bowl

Lincoln Riley signed Football from Military Bowl

Alex White autographed baseball

Lonnie Chisenhall autographed baseball

BJ and Justin Upton autographed ball

David Thornton autographed ball

Tyler Hansbrough autographed shoes

Dean Smith autographed picture

Dean Smith autographed mini basketball

$100 dollar gift card to Sam’s club

$100 dollar gift card to Wal-Mart

2 oil changes and tire rotations- Spee Dee Oil

4 tickets and parking pass to NC State and FSU basketball game

2 tickets to Universal Studies and 50 dollar dinner ticket to Margaritteville

2 Carolina Hurricanes Tickets

1 dozen roses

Terrence Copper signed jersey from KC Chiefs

Morning News Report; Dec. 9, 2010


Shock-jock Howard Stern announced on this morning’s show that he will stay with Sirius-XM Satellite for five more years.

My take: A good move for Sirius — because the service would’ve taken quite the hit if he had bolted.

And yes, I’m a fan. Yes, he’s boorish and crude, but he’s also funny as hell, too. Would I want a 10-year-old child listening? Absolutely not, but at least he’s not the same old thing on the air like the other 1,000 shows out there.


On tonight’s Barbara Walters’ special, media mogul (and former Jon Dawson flame) Oprah Winfrey says the rumors of her being gay are not true.

My take: And even if she is, who really cares? Being gay certainly hasn’t hurt about 30 percent of Hollywood.

However, she did express regret about that torrid mid-90s affair with Dawson. Guess you’ll have to watch tonight’s episode to see that.


Two-time national championship coach Urban Meyer has announced his intention to step down from the Gators following his team’s bowl game.

My take: Allegedly, the reason is health-related, but would you be surprised if he bolts to the NFL — maybe even Denver, where his prized pupil, Tim Tebow, awaits? Seems like Meyer is becoming the Brett Favre of the college game.

I don’t have time to look this up — but when was the last time Miami and Florida were both looking for coaches in the same year? Has to be quite a while. You have to figure those jobs are two of the top in the country.

The iPod shuffle

One Of Us — Joan Osborne

I Wanna Get High — Cypress Hill

Angel Of Harlem — U2

Can’t Stop Lovin’ You — Van Halen

Live Your Life — T.I. featuring Rihanna

P.S.: The Salvation Army/Free Press Toy Drive really, really needs your help. There are nearly 900 needy children who are signed up to receive gifts and the donations have been kind of scarce this year. Please, if you can, donate a toy or two to the effort; all the details are in the link.

Morning News Report; Dec. 7, 2010


The Lenoir County Commissioners, and later the Kinston City Council, approved an agreement with the new Woodmen of the World recreation center. It includes the possibility of the county and city having to pony up more money to the WOW if the center doesn’t get enough members.

My take: Not sure how I feel about that — the city and county are already pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into this private project.

I think it’s good for our county and city to have this type of business and I think it’s something everyone will use at one time or another. But taxpayers’ money to help it if there’s not 1,200 members?


The man who founded the Wikileaks web page has been arrested in London on rape charges from Sweden. He was denied bail on the charges.

My take: Not sure if the rape charges will stick but he should be tried for putting thousands of soldiers’ lives at risk with his release of the top-secret documents he places on his site.

Yes, I believe in freedom of the press … but sometimes, even that freedom needs to be held back a bit to protect the interests of a nation and its soldiers, Marines and sailors.


The Denver Broncos fired Josh McDaniels yesterday. He became the third head coach — following Dallas and Minnesota — to be fired this season in the NFL.

My take: Dallas and Minnesota didn’t surprise me — this one did, to a degree. McDaniels hasn’t even finished two seasons yet in Denver and he has one of the best offenses in the league.

My one question: how much does this hurt QB Kyle Orton’s numbers in the final weeks of the fantasy football season? Oh — and I’ll be popping an HBFL update heading into the playoffs up here on the blog sometime today or tomorrow, too.

OK, I lied — one more question: do you think the Carolina Panthers will wait until the end of the season to fire John Fox or just let his contract expire, as it is set to do?

The iPod shuffle

Drive — R.E.M.

The Fly — U2

Heaven — Bryan Adams

It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It) — The Rolling Stones

That’s The Way (I Like It) — K.C. & The Sunshine Band

P.S.: South Lenoir Athletics Director Lisa Smith let me know the profits from the 50/50 drawing at Wednesday night’s North Lenoir-SL game in Deep Run will be donated to the family of Corbin Hawkins. Please get out there early and buy some 50/50 tickets to help out Corbin!

P.P.S.S.: Our good friend Bobby Hatcher (BHatcher) is gauging interest for a co-ed kickball tournament to help raise money for Corbin. The cost would be $10 per player with a minimum of eight players and maximum of 12 players per team. It would be held sometime in the next six weeks or so. If interested, contact him at 252-521-1112. The Free Press will have a team in it, so let him know!

You can help Corbin Hawkins in a fun event

Some of our faithful bloggees have set up a fun fund-raiser that is going to be taking place at the Lenoir County Fairgrounds on Dec. 19 from 2 p.m.-until.

Jonathan Davis (Heelatious) and Bobby Hatcher (BHatcher) have helped establish the Corbin Hawkins Corn Hole Classic, a double-elimination tournament which will be played at the fairgrounds. They are hoping to have a minimum of 25 teams and the cost per team is $30. Concessions will be available for purchase and they will also be auctioning a new corn hole set.

For more information, call JD at 252-268-7561.

My take: Wish I could go — ’cause I would kick all your butts. I’ll be in Dallas that weekend for the Redskins’ trouncing of the Cowgirls.

But please go out and play and support Corbin and his family; Corbin, a North Lenoir three-sport athlete, is battling leukemia.

Morning News Report; Dec. 3, 2010


MaryMac Ritch, the wife of former mayor Buddy Ritch, passed away Wednesday night.

My take: Unapologetically, I’ll tell you this, faithful bloggees — I dearly loved MaryMac. I’ve shed a tear or two the past 24 hours or so over a person who was one of the most important figures in Kinston in the past 30 years.

I’m working on my Sunday column, which will be about her. Please remember to keep her family and the love of her life and husband for 58 years — Buddy — in your prayers. They had a true love story, one that is hard to match in this day and age.

RIP, my dear friend.


Spin Magazine, who the Bloodhound Gang hates because “they never ever plug me,” recently released its list of the top 125 albums of the past 25 years – since Spin Magazine began.

My take: Not going to give away what was No. 1, but I think the fine folks at Spin did a great job picking it. No, it wasn’t from the Bloodhound Gang, but from another favorite band of mine.

Even though I’m not a music elitist like Jon Dawson or Guitarwrecker, I thought it was a pretty good list. I also own or have owned 26 albums/CDs on the list, including No.’s 1, 4, 6, 7 and 10.

Now, you have to go check it out.


LeBron James’ homecoming in Cleveland received better ratings — 5.0 to 4.1 — than the NFL Network’s showing of Houston-Philadelphia.

My take: I watched both — and was impressed with neither.  The Cavaliers looked like they were sleepwalking and the horrible announcing crew of Joe Theisman and Company force you to have to mute the TV during the game.

But thank God for Suddenlink, which gives me the NFL Network. OK, it doesn’t “give” it to me, but I’m thankful it’s available in Kinston; the HB doesn’t get it in Raleigh on Time Warner!

The iPod shuffle

Here Comes My Girl — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Learn The Hard Way — Nickelback

Hey Mama — Kanye West

Down Under — Men At Work

Professional Widow (Merry Widow Version) — Tori Amos

P.S.: Please go by Arendell Parrott Academy today to get your BBQ lunch/dinner. The good folks over there are raising money for Colt Brake, the Rocky Mount Academy football player who was partially paralyzed after a game in Kinston in October.

The sale lasts from 3 to 7 p.m. and each plate is $5.50 in advance or $8 at the door. You can eat in or pick up at the front entrance. For more information, call 252-522-4222 and tell ‘em Bryan Hanks sent you.

Morning News Report; Nov. 24, 2010


North Lenoir and South Lenoir got the 2010-11 season off to a great start as the Hawks overcame poor shooting to defeat the Blue Devils, 67-58 in overtime in Wheat Swamp last night.

My take: And what an awesome start to a season! It keeps going tonight as South Lenoir visits Kinston in the Vikings’ first game in its 2A title defense and the Hawks play at home against North Lenoir. The Hawks and Vikings hook up Friday night in Kinston.

I can’t believe there are this many great games in the first week of the season. And I’m honored again to be the P.A. voice of the Vikings, so come by and say howdy tonight and Friday.

On another sidenote — our community really came together again last night in raising money for Corbin Hawkins, a North Lenoir senior student-athlete who is in a tough fight with leukemia as I write this. Thanks to our good friend Jonathan Davis (Heelsfan), who helped put together a 50/50 drawing that ended up with $950 — and kudos to North Lenoir student John Delaney who won his half ($475), then promptly turned around and donated it back to the family! John is the son of Pat Delaney, the manager of the Plaza Piggly Wiggly; according to JD, the Delaneys bought more than 200 tickets with the goal of donating the money back to the Hawkins family.

JD also told me there is a meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the NL auditorium for parents and students who want to help plan a fund-raiser. If you can make it, please do so.

I am asked all the time what I love about Lenoir County … well, this is why. I’ve been all over the state and I’ve NEVER seen a community come together the way this one does. Yes, I’m in love with Lenoir County and I’m proud of it. Thanks for the way we take care of ours!


Former N.C. Gov. Mike Easley pled guilty to a felony yesterday – and was fined $1,000.

Yep, that’s it.

My take: Sure, he’s the first former governor convicted of a felony — and that hurts his ego, maybe — but for the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent investigating him and this is what emerges? Whatever he paid his lawyer(s) was certainly worth it.

He doesn’t even lose his right to vote, although, as a convicted felon, he had to submit a DNA sample and loses the right to carry a firearm.

All-in-all, he got off pretty easy.


The Miami Heat cut Kinston’s Jerry Stackhouse yesterday; he averaged 1.7 points, 1 rebound and shot 25 percent in the seven games he played in this year.

The Heat continue to struggle — losing to lowly Indiana at home, 93-77, Monday night to fall to 8-6. They play at Orlando tonight.

My take: It couldn’t happen to a better group of guys. I was holding back my vitriol because of Stackhouse playing for them, but now that they’ve cut him … I hope they go .500 or worse this year. Please, Lord … let that happen.

What is hilarious to me, though, are all those “experts” who said the Heat were going to win 70 games in the regular season. Let’s see, if my math is right, the LeBrons have to go 62-6 the rest of the way. Anyone want to put money on the fact THAT isn’t going to happen?

The iPod shuffle

Deacon Blues — Steely Dan

I’ve Got You Under My Skin — Frank Sinatra & Bono

Truck Volume — Busta Rhymes

Drop The World — Lil’ Wayne & Eminem

Don’t Treat Me Bad — Firehouse

You can help Corbin Hawkins

Thanks to our good friend Heelsfan for this:

You can help North Lenoir High School senior Corbin Hawkins at tomorrow night’s South Lenoir-North Lenoir basketball game. Corbin, a baseball, tennis and soccer athlete, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing aggressive treatment at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

At tomorrow night’s SL-NL game in Wheat Swamp, every penny raised in the concession stand will go to Corbin’s family to help them through this rough financial time. Heelsfan told me there will be Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and all sorts of goodies on sale in the stand — and 100 percent of the money raised will go to Corbin’s family.

SO — go to the game hungry! Don’t eat dinner beforehand; eat at the game and help raise some money for a great cause! I’ll see you there!

Honor Taylor and Kaitlyn by giving blood tomorrow in Deep Run

I wrote about it in my Sunday column and in an article today  — please make time in your schedule tomorrow to give blood at the Deep Run Fire Department. The blood drive is being hosted by Will and Whitney Graves and Meredith Sutton in memory of Taylor and Kaitlyn Humphrey.

The drive runs from 3 to 7 p.m. — and, Lord willing, I will be there to give blood, too.

Meredith said it best: what better way to remember Taylor and Kaitlyn than by giving the gift of life? I know — I can’t think of a better way, either! Hope to see you there.

Helping the Hawks (updated 1 p.m.)

Our good friend Heelsfan — Jonathan Davis to the uninformed — has been feverlishly cooking chicken since 2 a.m. to help the North Lenoir High School athletic booster club raise funds.

You can order your own delicious  plate — which includes a half-chicken, string beans, boiled potatoes, roll and cake — for only $6! Call JD at 252-268-7561 to place your order or go by the Wheat Swamp Ruritan Building.

UPDATE 1 P.M.: This is arguably the best “event” chicken I’ve ever eaten … it is fantastic! We ordered 14 plates for our office and I bought one for me and the HB, who is coming into town … but she might not get hers, it’s so good!

The chicken is awesome with the famous Hawk sauce (soon to be famous) Jeff Howard’s wife’s Ruckus Sauce on it and it’s almost too much chicken to finish. With the beans, potatoes, roll and cake, it’s the best deal for $6 you’re going to find.

Just texted JD to tell him all this and he said there are still plates for sale. PLEASE be sure to give him a call or go by the Wheat Swamp Ruritan Building — tell ‘em Hanks sent you and you might get an extra piece of cake! OK, probably not, but still tell ‘em you read about it here on the blog.