Morning News Report; March 29, 2012


Put this down as one of the coolest stories of the past few weeks — the owner of the Chinese restaurant that was robbed Tuesday night on Vernon Ave. attempted to shoot the man who robbed him. However, his gun wouldn’t fire.

The restaurant owner — Min Feng Chen — said it won’t happen next time, ’cause his gun WILL work.

My take: Reminds me of the story about Calvin Tso at the old China King getting robbed — and Mr. Calvin popped a cap in the robber and killed him (tried to find the link on and came up dry).

Listen, I have ABSOLUTELY NO problem with someone defending their property, business or family with a gun. That’s the beauty of our country — mess with a man’s property, business or family and like Mr. Calvin did — you might be carried off by the coroner’s office.

Do your thing, Mr. Min Feng Chen.


The CDC reports one in every 88 children has autism — a number that is almost double what it was just 10 years ago. In boys, autism is more pronounced, as one in 54 have it.

My take: That news staggers me. I have a few friends, including FOB Randy Capps, who have children with autism — and I admire those parents greatly who do such a great job with their kids with autism.

Why is autism in children increasing? We hear the numbers and read the stories about the children, but why — in 2012 — can’t we solve this?

Again, my hat is off to Randy and his lovely wife Shanna, who are simply awesome parents to Ethan — and to all those parents who are helping their children with autism.


Apple faces a class-action lawsuit about its’ Siri function — a false advertising suit claiming the voice-activated feature doesn’t do what it’s advertised to do.

My take: I’ve still got my year-old iPhone 4 without the Siri function — but even when I played around with some friends’ 4S, I realized it wasn’t what was advertised. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this case.

The iPod shuffle

Say Say Say — Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney

Beautiful Day — U2

While You See A Chance — Steve Winwood

Here Comes The Sun — The Beatles

All The Above — On The Rocks

P.S.: Really looking forward to taping this week’s Free Press Radio Program with Jon “Music Elitist” Dawson and Justin “The Kid” Hill this afternoon — we’re going to each share our top 10 pop music acts in history. Dawson’s criteria for the lists includes most original, scope of influence and staying power. Of course, Dawson’s list is going to include seven acts you’ve NEVER heard of … but that’s how he’s earned his “music elitist” title!

Hint: you might see U2 in my list. I’ll post mine here later this afternoon, along with the link to the podcast so you can hear what Dawson and Hill think.

P.P.S.S.: I had a great morning at Seymour Johnson AFB welcoming home Jeff Stephens and Ashton Brinson, who are home after spending eight months in Afghanistan. I’m writing a story for tomorrow’s FP and I’ve got some extra pictures I’m going to share here on the blog.

I’m sure I’ll say this later, but let me say this here: Jeff and Ashton are HEROES — true heroes who put their lives on the line to make sure we still have our freedoms. If you know either of them, please welcome them home!

Paying off a bet … yada, yada, yada

The only comment I’ll provide for this abomination is that I pay off my bets. Carolina 54, Virginia 51. Congrats, Jon Dawson, you magnificient bastard.

My stomach, chest and arms have broken out into a rash. May God have mercy on my soul.

Here’s a nice picture to restore order to the universe:

As always, click on the photos for better (or not so better) views.

And we’re taping a Carolina-Duke podcast in a few; I’ll post it here — and you’re going to want to hear it!

Morning News Report; Feb. 6, 2012


The N.Y. Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17, over the New England Patriots last night — and much like their win four years ago, it came in spectacular fashion as MVP Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham on an unbelievable pass on the winning drive.

My take: Of course, if you’d read my Sunday column, you would’ve known to pick the Giants in SBXLVI.

I must say — it’s awfully sweet to see Bill Belichick (who’s MUCH smarter than you are and every other person in the world) get his again.

And it’s cool to see the perennially underrated Eli Manning get another MVP and title — one more than his brother. Which begs the question — is Eli now a better quarterback than Peyton? Did this solidify Eli’s place in the Hall of Fame?

Don’t forget, kids: my Washington Redskins swept the Giants this season; thus meaning my Skins are, by default, the Super Bowl champs. Right?



FOB Richard Clark found a dog in Trenton that the HB and I have been fostering since midweek last week. Read the link for all the details.

My take: I’ll say this — whoever had this dog should burn in hell, if this was intentional mistreating. He’s sweet a dog as you’ve ever seen, it’s gentle … and it was nearly starved to death when Richard saved his life.

Anyone who can treat an animal this way should be put in jail. As my HB reminds me though, that’s some hunter’s mentality though — if the dog can’t hunt, let it go. However, they would’ve done better to just put it down than to release it and let it nearly starve to death. I’m just thankful God led the dog to Richard.

Anyhoo — we’ve had several calls for the dog we’re calling “Buddy;” if you think you might be interested, give me a call at the office at 252-559-1074 after 2 p.m. today.


Mitt Romney easily won the Republican primary in Nevada on Saturday, prompting the question — are there any legitimate challengers keeping him from winning the GOP nod?

This Washington Post piece states that Rick Santorum might be the only one who does.

My take: I disagree — it looks like it’s Obama vs. Romney for the presidency (and Obama leads Romney in an ABC poll). The only question to me, though, is who will be Romney’s running mate.

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Hitch-Hiker — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Talkin’ 2 Myself — Eminem featuring Kobe

Love Comes — The Posies

Party Like A Rock Star — Shop Boyz

Can’t Help Falling In Love — Elvis Presley

Congratulations to B.J. and Jessica Murphy!

That’s right — Kinston Mayor (and FOB) B.J. Murphy and his wife Jessica have brought a new baby into the world!

Kathryn Lane Murphy was born at 12:16 p.m., weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 20 and 1/4 inch long. Here’s a photo from the proud daddy:

(Click on the photo for a better look at the bundle o’ joy)

Congratulations to the mayor and his wife!

Morning News Report; Dec. 14, 2011

Before we get started here on the ol’ blog, some good/bad news from the sports media front — our very good friend and freaking awesome TV sports monkey, WCTI ABC-12′s Derek Bayne, is leaving Eastern North Carolina for the greener pastures of Rockford, Ill., where he’ll be the sports director of a station up there. His final day at WCTI is next Thursday, Dec. 22.

As has been mentioned here a plethora of times, Derek is truly one of the good guys. Just like his mentor, Brian North, D-Bayne (as the kids call him) has gone well beyond the call in covering prep and LCC sports here in Lenoir, Greene and Jones counties through the years.

D-Bayne will be seriously missed — not just by North but by viewers of WCTI. Good luck, my friend. Now … on to the MNR:


With the NCHSAA releasing its second look at realignment, it looks like five of our area teams — Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton — might still be headed to the same conference, with Jones Senior as our only area school outside that potential league.

Free Press SE Ryan Herman has a great column on this today — in fact, he’s even come up with a great name for the potential league: The Free Press 2A.

My take: This would be such a dream conference for many reasons for all of our schools … and for TFP. I’m begging the NCHSAA and our schools — let this bad boy go through and you will be extremely happy with what we’ll be able to do with this.


Time Magazine’s annual choice for its Person of the Year is … The Protestor.

My take: Seems like a cop-out to me, but I have to agree that protests throughout the world — Egypt, Africa, Europe and the Occupy movement here in America — have dominated news cycles all over the globe.

Some of my nominees for Time’s POTY would’ve been Herman Cain, Bono or even Derek Jeter. Yours?


WRAL CBS-5 has confirmed that UNC interim head football coach Everett Withers will be a part of Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

My take: Good for Withers, who seems like a pretty decent fellow from all accounts. And it was pretty much a guarantee that UNC was going to completely clean house following the Butch Davis fiasco in Chapel Hill.

The iPod shuffle

Emotional Rescue — The Rolling Stones

Air Force Ones — Nelly

Come Together — The Beatles

Wrapped Around Your Finger — The Police

Talking To The Moon (Acoustic Piano Version) — Bruno Mars

P.S.: The Hermanator will be releasing the All-Free Press football teams, along with the coach, offensive players and defensive players of the year in Sunday’s edition. Not going to reveal any of the winners, but I think it’s a very judicious list in which Herman, me, Keith Spence and Justin “The Kid” voted on.

Of course … it’s hard to select just ONE coach of the year when four of your seven area coaches led their teams to state championship games! I was a little surprised at the defensive POTY, but the offensive POTY was a pretty easy choice. Discuss!

Afternoon News Report; Dec. 9, 2011

Many apologies, faithful bloggees — I’ve been all over ENC the past week with my company’s “social immersion” roll-out training. Trust me: you’re going to see a lot about it in the coming weeks and months in TFP, and here on the ol’ blog.

The powers-that-be also haven’t completely archived this blog yet in the change to the new URL, which, incidentally, will be No, I’m not a big fan of its look right now, but maybe we can dress it up a little bit. I’m not pleased with the lack of categories … but you work with what they give you, right?

Some quick hits on stuff before we plunge into today’s MNR ANR:

  • My twitter feed (@BCHanks) has been blowing up — mostly because I’m really beginning to work it. As many of you know, I am the PA voice of the Kinston Vikings basketball teams, so I’m tweeting updates every chance I get. If you want to know who’s winning tonight’s KHS games against SW Edgecombe (yes, I refuse to call it SouthWest Edgecombe), follow me on Twitter.
  • Ryan Herman, Jon Dawson and I wrapped up the prep football season and talked about a bunch of cool stuff on this week’s Free Press Sports Podcast. I even curse a time or two, just to see if I can get away with it. Seriously, though, if you’re not listening to this weekly podcast thingie we’re doing — you’re missing out. We have a lot of fun with it and this is the best part — it’s the kind of podcast I’d like to listen to. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.

Anyhoo, here’s your MNR ANR.


Kinston Mayor and FOB B.J. Murphy was named the Young Professional of the Year at last night’s Young Professionals of Lenoir County annual gala. Among the other honors handed out last night were TFP’s “20 Under 40″ awards and the Mentor of the Year award by the YPLC to LCC President Dr. Brantley Briley.

My take: There is not a more deserving person than the mayor for this honor. You tell me another 20- or 30-something in our area who has made more of an impact in Kinston/Lenoir County than B.J. Murphy in the past three or four years?

I voted in the 20 Under 40 awards and was duly impressed by the 50 or so people nominated. Some of the most impressive nominations, though, were for Scott Alston, Dana Hill, Benjamin Knight, Michael Parker, Eric Rouse, Samara Sutton-Taft, Mary Crews Whaley and Brian Wiggins.

And a sincere congrats to Dr. Briley — one of the good guys out there.

The iPod shuffle — extended version (and send me your honest shuffle, too, and I’ll post it here in a future MNR)

Eyes Without A Face — Billy Idol

My Michelle — Guns N’ Roses

Throw Yourself Away — Nickelback

Sassafras Roots — Green Day

Modern Love — David Bowie

Wishing You Were Here — Chicago

Changes Comin’ On — Alabama

Bring Em Out — T.I.

Hot Blooded — Foreigner

Red Rain — Peter Gabriel

Prayers for Keith Spence’s daughter

Please join me in praying for a very good friend of mine (and yours, if you’ve ever met him) — Keith Spence. His beautiful daughter, Lindsay Spence, contracted a virus that sent her into a diabetic seizure last week. She’s in the hospital in Greenville now in critical care of the ICU unit … and hasn’t regained consciousness yet.

Sports, politics and all this other stuff is just BS when it comes to our family and loved ones. PLEASE join me in praying for our good friend and his daughter — especially here at such a poignant time of the year.

Morning News Report; Nov. 17, 2011


With crime back on the rise again in Kinston — including five drive-by shootings since Saturday — there is one good bit of news in the fight against the bad guys: The Free Press’ Catch-A-Criminal program has come up with its ninth arrest of 12 people featured in the program.

My take: When we started this puppy a few months ago in response to all the homicides this summer, we hoped for a 25-30 percent arrest rate. To me, 75 percent is freaking incredible.

Many, many thanks to Scott Newton and the good folks at the little bank for financing this program. Without them, there is NO WAY we could’ve made this work. Thanks to Scott and the little bank, there have been nine people taken off the street — and $2,000 has been paid out to great citizens who care about our community.


The former N.C. House Speaker is asking the current House leader to launch a formal investigation into the business practices of local state representative Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir.

My take: Bear in mind the former House Speaker is a Democrat and LaRoque is (or was) arguably the most outspoken Republican in Raleigh.

My unsolicited advice for Rep. LaRoque? Continue to be the most Sunshine Law-advocating legislator in North Carolina government and it’ll all come out in the wash. If this is just Democrats trying to quiet someone of their opposition, they’re going to look stupid for wasting taxpayer dollars for an unwarranted witch hunt. If there’s something legitimate here, then that will come out, too.

My gut, though, is that it’s the former … not the latter. We’ll see.


Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joined Dan Patrick on his national sports talk show yesterday; when Dan asked K what was his worst loss, K said it was his Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament loss to Virginia in 1983.

Curiously, Coach K mentioned that it was a tough loss because — and I’m paraphrasing here — Virginia played Ralph Sampson the entire game.

My take: Not so fast, K — thanks to a Twitter post from former Free Press Sports Editor R.L. Bynum this morning, he calls it to everyone’s attention that Ralph Sampson only played 14 of 40 minutes in the 109-66 victory.

Here’s a link to the boxscore of that game; it’s the season wrap of Virginia’s boxes in 1983, so you have to scroll down a little over halfway to get to the Virginia-Duke box … but it’s there: Ralph — the greatest center in ACC history — hit 8 of 11 shots from the field in his 14 minutes to finish with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

I’m the biggest Cavahoo fan in Lenoir County, but I’m not freaking out over this gaffe — K has done a crapload of interviews this week and this is just one question of dozens he’s answered. It probably seemed like Sampson was in the entire 40 minutes of a 109-66 rout that put his job security into question.

But it does add light to why Duke seemingly ran it up on my Wahoos over the next 25-plus years whenever it had the chance.

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Sixteen — Billy Idol

Hip Hop Hooray — Naughty By Nature

Butterfly — Crazy Town

Can’t Help Falling In Love — Elvis Presley

Always Something To Remind Me — Naked Eyes

P.S.: FOB Amanda Hickey of the Jacksonville Daily News, arguably the MVP of Freedom ENC, has a good column today on her fight to stop smoking. If you’re battling the Cigarette Satan — especially on today, the annual Great American SmokeOut — you’ll be able to relate to Amanda.

The Hermanator is having a …

… boy! Free Press Sports Editor (and FOB) Ryan Herman and his lovely wife Jaclyn just got out of the doctor’s office in Greenville — and they’re having a boy! The due date is March 17 for the Hermans.

Congrats, Herman and Little Herman!

Also, Free Press award-winning photographer Janet S. Carter and her lovely husband Carlon Carter (a U.S. Marine who will probably snap my neck when he sees I called him “lovely) are having a little girl, who is scheduled for arrival on Planet Earth on Feb. 25. I’ve been trying to talk her out of naming her little bundle o’ joy Bryanna, but I think that’s the name Janet and Carlon have decided upon.

I kid, I kid — but congrats Stunna (Janet’s alter-ego nickname) and Carlon!

Since we’re all gambling fools at your Kinston Daily Free Press, we’re probably going to have a birthing pool. If you’re interested in details, hit my email for details.

Odds and ends

Some odds and ends for your perusal this afternoon:

  • I waspart of a WNCT CBS-9 report that was filed by Tony Rawlings about our Catch A Criminal program, in which we’ve seen 5 of the 7 folks listed become arrested; it’s thanks to the little bank and The Free Press. The report aired at 5:30 p.m. and in subsequent newscasts — I’ll pop a link to it soon.
  • I had the honor of meeting Comet 65 — Mark Meadows — 11 days ago at the North Lenoir-Cleveland game; his son is a lineman on the Cleveland junior varsity team. Mark has supported the blog since virtually its inception and it was a lot of fun talking to him the entire game. Here he is:

  • You’ve read my raves about Amanda Hickey’s Within Driving Distance blog and her articles in the Max Magazine portion of the Jacksonville Daily News. Sadly, she’s calling it quits with WDD, although she’ll still pop a press release up there occasionally. I still feel like this is one of the best features in Freedom ENC — you can catch up on some of Amanda’s travels by clicking on the link above or to the right.
  • A very, very happy birthday today to one of my favorite folks in Kinston — the venerable Reece Gardner. I truly believe there is not a single person in this town who is more positive than Mr. Gardner; I wish his positive attitude would rub off on more of us here and Kinston would be a much better place.