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Morning News Report; Nov. 3, 2011

STATE SNAGS ANOTHER GOOD RECRUIT

T.J. Warren, a former Raleigh Word of God star who also played at Durham Riverside, verbally committed to N.C. State yesterday. He’s currently at a prep school in New Hampshire.

My take: Other than the fact he’s been at three high schools/prep schools in the past year, a good get for new State coach Mark Gottfried, who is putting together quite the first class for the Wuffies.

JEREMY MAYFIELD ARRESTED ON METH CHARGE

Former NASCAR star Jeremy Mayfield — already on suspension for alleged drug use — was arrested Tuesday night at his home in Catawba for possession of methamphetamine.

My take: Oh, how the “mighty” have fallen. It appears he had all sorts of stolen items in his house at the time of the arrest, too, and charges are pending for those.

Meth — it’s not a good thing, kids.

JUSTIN BIEBER … IS A BABY DADDY?

That’s what the rumor is, although the young Bieber is denying it.

My take: Disturbing on so many different levels.

The iPod shuffle

Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down — Puff Daddy & The Family featuring Mase

On The Run — Pink Floyd

Takin’ Care Of Business — Bachman Turner Overdrive

Legs (Remix) — ZZ Top

Enter Sandman — Metallica

P.S.: I made an appearance on The Reece Gardner Hour this week, where Mr. Gardner wanted to discuss the battle the HB is going through; if you’d like to check it out, please click here. And as always — THANK YOU for the prayers for her. She appreciates it immensely, as do I.

Reece and I also talk about the City Council race and other local issues. Also, stay tuned later this afternoon for this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast with Ryan Herman, which features FOB Brian North and highschoolot.com/WRAL CBS-5′s Nick Stevens this week. . Trust me — you’ll enjoy it.

Nightly News Report; Oct. 26, 2011

Good grief … I’m sorry, guys and gals, but life and work has been kicking my ass. Seriously can’t remember the last time I’ve gone five days without posting here — but not going to let it happen again.

Thanks for the concerned calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages — I probably don’t tell y’all this enough, but I truly appreciate you for taking the time to visit this little spot and for taking the time to check on me and the HB (who appreciates all of you, too!).

I have a massive MNR ANR NNR for your perusal, standings update, game pick ‘ems and survivor pool update before my head hits a pillow tonight.

KINSTON CITY COUNCIL PODCASTS

Free Press government writer David Anderson has stories on the six Kinston City Council candidates while Jon Dawson and I have podcasts accompanying David’s work (click on the link at the end of each candidate’s story).

My take: And today is just Day 1 of the fun and games. Thursday, we feature the Pink Hill mayor’s race; Friday is Pink Hill town board (I’ll have strong comments on that one tomorrow); Saturday is La Grange town board; Sunday features Greene County races; and Monday brings you Jones County.

There is absolutely no better place for you to go to get to know these candidates than in these stories and podcasts. You get to hear the candidates in their own voices, unfiltered and without bias.

I have to give serious props to Anderson, Justin “The Kid” Hill, Wesley Brown and Jane Moon for putting their stories together — they produced these stories ON TOP of the regular work they churn out.

Much love has to go to J-Dizzle Dawson, though — he produced each and every one of the podcasts, even living through one of my particularly gaseous days in his office last week. Trust me — he deserves combat pay for that day of work.

One final nugget on the Kinston City Council candidates — here’s how the six rank in page views/listens (not that it is any indicator of who is actually going to win the race): Kelly Jarman, Sammy C. Aiken, John Nix, Jimmy Cousins, Joe Tyson and Lennie Peterson.

Gotta admit, I figured Nix and Tyson would have more and Aiken would have less.

E. COLI OUTBREAK … FROM STATE FAIR?

Nine people — including seven children — have contracted the E. Coli infection, with three in Raleigh hospitals in intensive care. Eight of those nine attended the State Fair last week.

My take: As did the HB and I on Saturday, where I ate nearly everything in the fairgrounds. Don’t believe me? Check out my Facebook page and look at the pictures, where I went on a fair-food eating binge where I ate — no joke — a turkey leg, a Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger, deep-fried macaroni and cheese and deep-fried Oreos.

Don’t have a complaint about ANY of it, either … unless I get E. Coli from it.

UNC CAMO UNIS/JOHNSON PICKS HEELS

Quite a day for UNC basketball as the Tar Heels announced what their camo uniforms will look like for the Nov. 11 Carrier Classic game:

(Photo from TarHeelBlue.com; click on it for a better view)

The Heels program also received a signficant verbal commitment from Brice Johnson, a four-star 6-9, 200-pound forward ranked 25th overall by ESPNU and 49th overall by Rivals.com in the Class of 2012 from Cordova, S.C.

My take: Gotta admit … that camo Carolina Blue is pretty sweet. There, I said it. The fact the Heels will all be wearing U.S.A. on their backs instead of their names is pretty freaking cool, too.

And getting Johnson, who will probably end up top 20 (or higher) before the season ends? Good grief. Save some for the rest of us, Ol’ Roy?

UNC/DUKE PLAY DIRTY

Thanks to The Kid (Justin E. Hill) for this cool nugget: according to the Wall Street Journal, while Auburn-Georgia is the “dirtiest” college football rivalry over the past five meetings, UNC-Duke is No. 2. Seriously.

My take: Interestingly, UNC-NCSU is the ninth-dirtiest, making the Tar Heels the only program to be ranked twice in the top 10.

YOU CHOOSE WITN GAME OF THE WEEK

WITN NBC-7 has a feature that is pretty doggoned cool — you pick the game sports anchor Billy Weaver names the station’s prep football game of the week. This week, you get to choose between Ayden-Grifton/Goldsboro, Jacksonville Northside/East Duplin and two other insignificant games.

My take: Have to grudingly admit — that’s a pretty cool idea. I can’t believe there’s only 12 votes right now (around 10:30 p.m., Wednesday); I figured there’d be dozens of votes pouring in right now.

As much as I love A-G (Chargers coach Paul Cornwell is our Free Press High School Football Podcast guest this week, which will be posted tomorrow), that Northside/East Duplin has to be the game of the week, hands-down.

KINSTON, A-G CLIMB AP RANKS

Kinston climbed one spot to No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press 2A prep football poll, while A-G jumped one spot to No. 5 in the 1A poll.

The Vikings are No. 10 in Deana King’s ncpreps.com 2A poll, while the Chargers are No. 6 in her 1A poll.

Neither Kinston or A-G are in Chris Hughes’ CarolinaPreps.com statewide poll – but that’s not an insult to the Vikings or Chargers. Chris has a unique poll that ranks ALL the prep football teams in the state and places them in a top 25.

In the interest of full disclosure, our very own Ryan Herman is a voter in the AP and CarolinaPreps.com polls.

My take: Only one week of high school football left, kids! I’ll have a separate blog post on some of my thoughts to accompany the podcast tomorrow — I think you’ll find it interesting…

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Mess With My Man — Nivea featuring Brian & Brandon Casey

Don’t Do Me Like That — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Holiday — Green Day

O Let’s Do It (Remix) — Waka Flocka Flame featuring Diddy, Rick Ross & Gucci Mane

Never Let ‘Em C U Sweat — Nelly & The Teamsters

Morning News Report; Sept. 14, 2011

TYSON, JARMAN, AIKEN ADVANCE TO NOVEMBER BALLOT

As expected, incumbent Joe Tyson led the way in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the Kinston City Council. He will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Kelly Jarman and Sammy Aiken in a night that saw less than 10 percent of the eligible citizens exercise their right to vote.

My take: Pitiful turnout for an election that could shape the face of Kinston for the next four years. I can’t imagine it’ll be this bad in November, especially with John Nix and Jimmy Cousins on the ballot.

Also, a quick explanation of “plurality” as referenced in David Anderson’s story; if the top three vote-getters received 40 percent plurality, there is not a runoff. However, the top five did, so no runoff.

Plurality is obtained by taking the total number of votes (3,104 last night), dividing by three (the number of open seats) and multiplying that number by .40; meaning last night’s plurality was 413.9 (rounded up to 414). The top three vote-getters were Tyson (831), Jarman (632) and Aiken (481) and all achieved plurality; even Joe Plasky (436) and Ronnie Isler (426) reached the magic number … so no runoff.

K-TRIBE WINS GAME 1 OF MILLS CUP FINALS

The Kinston Indians drew first blood in their Mills Cup Championship Series at Frederick with a 3-1 win against the Keys.

My take: The victory guarantees at least a split in Frederick before the series heads back to Kinston for Games 3, 4 (if necessary) and 5 (if necessary) at Grainger Stadium. Go K-Tribe!

PALIN/RICE HOOKED UP IN 1987?

According to Deadspin.com, a new book is claiming that potential Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin once had a one-night stand with former Charlotte Hornet Glen Rice. Allegedly, it happened in 1987 when Palin was a bright-eyed college graduate working at an Alaskan TV station and Rice was a Fab-Fiver (doggone it, thanks Jackson!) junior at Michigan playing in a tournament in the Great White North.

In the book, Rice confirms the affair; don’t know if Palin has fessed up to the tryst.

My take: That is pretty cool. The lesson here kids, is that cute person you’re hooking up with today could be the president in 25 years or so. FANTASTIC.

MARIANO RIVERA GETS 600TH SAVE

New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariana Rivera notched his 600th save in last night’s 3-2 win at Seattle. He is only the second MLB pitcher to achieve the feat and he’s only one behind the all-time mark set by Trevor Hoffmann.

My take: I Yankee-hate with the best of ‘em, but you have to respect Mo — the man is 41 years old and STILL the best at what he does in the game.

‘POINT BREAK’ SET FOR A REMAKE

“Point Break,” the Patrick Swayze-Keanu Reeves movie that showed an FBI agent infiltrating a group of surfing bank robbers, is set to be remade. No cast has been revealed yet.

My take: PB is one of those great, campy, over-the-top movies that simply does not need a re-boot. And what is it with Hollywood wanting to remake Swayze movies? First “Dirty Dancing” and now “Point Break?”

The iPod shuffle

Are We The Waiting — Green Day

Summer of ’69 — Bryan Adams

Whipping Post — The Allman Brothers Band

I Wanna Get High — Cypress Hill

Lust For Life — Iggy Pop

P.S.: I’m not through with the dust-up that’s going on at Kinston High School, in which the firing of Jason Wade from the baseball program was just the tipping point. My phone wouldn’t stop blowing up yesterday from calls from teachers and coaches there yesterday — and I’ll share some of those thoughts later, if I’m allowed to.

Morning News Report; Aug. 25, 2011

IRENE MOVING EAST A BIT

With area residents hitting the stores in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, it appears the ol’ girl will now pass near the Outer Banks as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane — but directly impact the Northeast near Boston and New York City.

A look at the latest tracking map, as of 6:58 a.m.:

Click on the map for a better view.

My take: While I’m certainly happy it appears we’ll possibly miss the direct hit, there’s still going to be a hell of a lot of rain and potential flooding. And you have to know emergency management directors in the Northeast are none too happy right now.

GO GET YOUR VOTE ON!

If you’re a Democrat or unaffiliated voter in Kinston, today marks the first day of “no-excuse” early voting in the city. Visit the Lenoir County Election HQ at 110-B South Herritage St. in early voting for the Sept. 13 primary.

My take: I changed my affiliation from Libertarian to unaffiliated just so I could take part in this — so you know I’m pumped! Take 2 minutes and exercise your right, either in early voting or in the Sept. 13 primary.

ORIOLES EXEC COMMITS SUICIDE

Former Cy Young winner and current Baltimore Orioles General Manager Mike Flanagan was found dead yesterday. A report says he committed suicide because he was despondent over his team’s failures. He was 59.

My take: If that is true, it is terrible, terrible news. It is just a game, although I know it was a job to him. Terrible news.

JOBS STEPS DOWN AS APPLE CEO

One of the most important men in American business history, Steve Jobs, resigned as CEO of Apple yesterday. He will remain as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Here’s a nice analysis of five things that made him great.

My take: Remember this — he was a college dropout who worked hard and did what he loved. I think he’s going to go down in history as a key figure in our country’s history. His health problems have been a real issue and I hope this is not why he had to step down.

The iPod shuffle

Leningrad — Billy Joel

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You — Elvis Presley

Say It — Beastie Boys

Dreams — Van Halen

American Idiot — Green Day

Self-promotion time…

If you just can’t get enough of my ugly mug or voice, here are a couple more opportunities for you to get your fill:

  • I appeared on TACC-9 this week with the honorable Reece Gardner, where we talked about the Dr. Cline situation, Molly Ringwald Hughes Hanks the Puppy Dawg, the Kinston City Council race … and rainbows. OK, we didn’t talk about rainbows, but we would have if we’d had more time
  • Myself, David Anderson and Jon Dawson take part in The Free Press’ first podcast, in which we discuss the six Democratic candidates in the Sept. 13 primary for the Kinston City Council. Give it a listen — I’m pretty pleased with how it came out and would love to get your reaction

Morning News Report; July 14, 2011

TYSON VS. LAROQUE: WHO YA GOT?

In an otherwise normal election filing story came this interesting nugget: Kinston City Councilman Joe Tyson is pretty pissed off that Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, has called him a racist on comments on stories at Kinston.com.

My take: I can understand why Mr. Tyson is upset at Rep. LaRoque — the representative has not slowed his incessant “NAACP = racist” thoughts since the Rev. William Barber situation blew up a few weeks ago. 

I’ll answer the same question I answered about LaRoque in a column on June 5: do I think  Tyson is racist? Not at all. I think — like LaRoque — Tyson attempts to protect those who elected him to office. While I agree with LaRoque’s political platform much more than Tyson, I believe Joe Tyson is as honorable a man as there is in Kinston.

Want a specific example? The late Ted Sampley, who was as polar a political opposite of Joe Tyson as there could be, admired Mr. Tyson greatly — and told me so on a couple of occasions. Did Ted and Joe agree politically? Practically never — but you can disagree with someone politically but still respect them.

That’s what bothers me about LaRoque’s anti-NAACP rants. While I fundamentally respect him greatly for making them — he won’t hesitate to let you know what he thinks about ANYTHING, and that’s appreciated in this politically-correct world we live in today — I think it is ultimately going to hurt him in a future election.

And that’s sad; LaRoque basically is a good guy — he works his ass off, he really cares about his constituents (see: annexation) and he has the potential to go far in state government (and beyond). But if he continues this blatant anti-NAACP posture, ultimately I think it’s going to be his undoing.

VIKINGS TRIO TRANSFERS FROM KINSTON

Three players set to start for the Kinston basketball team this year are transferring to a private school in Durham to pursue their prep basketball careers. Rising junior Dont’e Reynolds, along with seniors Chris Hall and Jaquon Brownridge, are leaving the Vikings program, said Kinston coach Wells Gulledge.

My take: This is a shocker — and a huge blow to the Vikings. Reynolds is poised to become one of North Carolina’s best players in the class of 2013, while Hall and Brownridge are solid players who have Division I potential. Rising junior Josh Dawson remains and will be joined by freshman Xavier Ingram — Bo’s little brother — so the talent well isn’t completely dry.

But with the Vikings set to make Nike trips all over America this year, these defections are going to hurt the team.

STEELERS PLAYER SAYS SOME VERY, VERY DUMB THINGS

In an interview with Men’s Health magazine, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison took several shots at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, teammates and opponents — including calling Goodell the “devil.”

My take: Uh … not smart. I guess he thinks that since the NFL is still in lock-out mode that he can’t be fined. Wrong. When they come out of this thing — and it looks like it could happen anyday — he’s going to be out a few hundred thousand dollars.

Where are my Steelers fans at? What do you think of this — especially the shots at Ben Roethlisberger?

The iPod shuffle

Everything She Wants — Wham!

I Can — NaS

Ice Ice Baby — Vanilla Ice

Something Happened On The Way To Heaven — Phil Collins

Barbie Girl — Aqua

Two familiar names to file for Kinston City Council seats

Two names familiar to Kinston voters have decided to throw their hats in the ring for the three City Council seats.

Joe Tyson, who is currently serving on the council, will file again as a Democrat. He had said he wasn’t going to return to the council unless he felt there weren’t strong enough candidates on the ballot … so that tells you what he thinks.

Jimmy Cousins, who served on the council before losing to B.J. Murphy in the mayor’s race in 2009, is also going to run. However, he was a Democrat before — and now he’s going to run as an unaffiliated candidate. Think he got burned by the Democrats in 2009 when the Dem leadership lined up behind Earl Harper?

This brings to six the number of declared candidates for the Kinston City Council race; Democrats who have filed include Tyson, Sammy C. Aiken and William Cooke; the lone Republican is Lenny Peterson; and the two unaffilated candidates are Cousins and John Nix. The deadline for filing is Friday at noon.

Morning News Report; March 21, 2011

NIX ANNOUNCES RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL

The first “big name” has thrown his hat in the ring for one of the three Kinston City Council seats that will open up in November — unaffiliated candidate John Nix, the owner of Matrix East and a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General to bring nonpartisan voting to Kinston. He joins Republican Lennie Peterson as the only announced candidates for the city council.

My take: Nix has a pretty solid chance of winning one of the seats.

But where are the rest of the candidates — as I asked in my Sunday column yesterday? I know there are still three months remaining before filing officially begins, but I’m shocked there hasn’t been any movement at all on the Democratic side of the ledger. With Nix — and even Peterson — announcing, they hold a distinct advantage over those who might choose to announce later.

And no, I wasn’t joking about Van Braxton coming back to the council — he had a pretty solid three terms on the council and it would do nothing but help him rebuild his political cause, if he even wants to be in politics any longer.

ACC 3, BIG EAST 2

After the first full weekend of the NCAA Tournament, only two of a record 11 Big East teams remain in the tourney, while three of the four ACC teams invited are alive for the Sweet 16.

My take: This tickles me to no end — the over-hyped (mostly by the four-letter network) league was beat up all weekend. It’s highly likely that Marquette (vs. UNC) and UConn (vs. San Diego State) won’t even make it to the Elite Eight, making this an epic fail for the Big Least.

At least the Big East has nine women’s teams in the round of 32. They have that going for them! Go ahead, Big East advocates — defend your overrated league.

Anyhoo — congrats to our good friend (and Friday Free Press coverboy) Michael Moon for leading our blog standings after the first weekend. He has 46 points, one better than Darren Becton and two better than Brent Pelletier. Kelly Rouse and Rich Jarman are three points back in fourth place.

And yes, my bracket is shot after FSU’s upset of Notre Dame — since I had the Irish in the national championship game against Duke. Oh well, still worth it for the Big East to go down in flames like this!

‘LIMITLESS’ TOPS WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

The Bradley Cooper-Rober De Niro drama “Limitless” was No. 1 at the U.S. weekend box office, hauling in $19 million. It topped “Rango” ($15.3 million) and “Battle: L.A.” ($14.6 million), while new movies “The Lincoln Lawyer” ($13.6 million) and “Paul” ($13.2 million) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

My take: The HB and I took in “Limitless” on Saturday — and it was pretty good. Cooper can certainly be goofy at times (see: “The Hangover”), but he was very good in “Limitless.” I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

By the way, we saw “Hall Pass” a couple of weeks ago — and it was arguably the funniest movie I’ve seen at the theater since “There’s Something About Mary.” It’s that good.

The iPod shuffle

Three Point One Four — The Bloodhound Gang

Hero — Mariah Carey

All I Do Is Win — D.J. Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross

Anything Goes — Guns N’ Roses

The Fly — U2

P.S.: Wednesday is the deadline for a blog fantasy baseball league. I only have six commitments to this point and frankly, if there is no more interest than this, we probably don’t need to have a league. Hit the link above for details and let me know if you’re interested in playing with your fellow bloggees.

HOWEVER, our good friend Randy Capps needs two more dedicated players in his fantasy baseball league. The cost is $25 to join; he gives $150 to the overall winner and $10 each to the 10 (5X5 format) category winners. I’ve played in this league every year but one over the past seven or eight years and it is COMPETITIVE. I’ve never finished above second, although I’ve won my share of categories. It’s a fun, extremely active league; if interested, e-mail Senor Capps at cappsr@fayobserver.com and he’ll hook you up with more info.