Morning News Report; April 4, 2012


The greatest center in ACC history — Ralph Sampson — will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Sept. 6 in Springfield, Mass.

(Courtesy Associated Press)

My take: Longtime bloggees know how I feel about this subject (yes, there’s a “Ralph Sampson is a basketball god” tab to your right). I feel he should’ve been inducted a long, long time ago and it’s a travesty it took this long. However, it’s awesome the HOF has finally come to its senses.

In the annals of college basketball, there might not be a better center outside of Sampson than UCLA’s Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton.

People have often asked why I’m such a University of Virginia sports fan … it’s because of Sampson. While everyone around me growing up in northwestern North Carolina was going crazy over UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest in the early 1980s, I chose UVa. because of King Ralph. Even my first email address (which I still own) was wahoos50 in honor of him.

And yes … I’ll be in Springfield for the ceremony.


A march for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin will take place in Kinston today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

My take: I’ve not shared my views on this issue because I don’t know all the details. However, if Zimmerman wasn’t in danger of losing his life — and there have not been many indications that he was — why shoot at a teenager with nothing but a pack of candy and a bottle of tea?

Before you jump all over my quasi-analysis, remember this: no one knows all the details about this except for Zimmerman and Martin — and one of them is dead now.

And there is nothing wrong with a peaceful march — it’s awesome to live in a country where we can peacefully assemble without fear our government will break it up.


Two big things happened at this week’s Lenoir County School board meeting — interim superintendent Steve Mazingo had “interim” taken off his title and South Lenoir had Tim Jenkins approved as its football coach.

My take: I’m not surprised by the Mazingo move — the man has done a fine job in the interim role. For all seven board members to approve him speaks volumes and it’s good they’re unified in their support of him. Now … let’s get our coaches paid a little more so they don’t stay for a year and then move on to surrounding counties because of money, OK?

Still crappy they ran off a fine gentleman in Dr. Terry Cline, though, but I guess it’s time to close the book on that subject.

As for Jenkins — he’s got a tough job ahead of him in Deep Run, but a good foundation has been laid by Kevin Wilson, his predecessor. I’ll say what I’ve said several times: no one has better football fan support in our county than South Lenoir — it’d be good to see those fans rewarded with a consistent program.

The iPod shuffle

(Love Is) Thicker Than Water — Andy Gibb

Kinda Like A Big Deal — Clipse

Straight Outta Compton — N.W.A.

Boom Boom Pow — Black Eyed Peas

I Want To Take You Higher — Ike & Tina Turner

Morning News Report; March 20, 2012

Before we get started today, allow me to wish Darrell Hanks — my awesome little brother — a happy birthday. He’s about the coolest person I know — seriously (even cooler than Jon Dawson? Yes!) – and arguably the best dad out there. Want to wish him a happy birthday, too? Check out his blog by clicking here. Happy birthday, Darrell!

And now … your MNR:


A press conference has been called by the Denver Broncos this afternoon to allegedly announce the signing of Peyton Manning to their roster.

Of course, this means the Broncos have two starting quarterbacks on their team — remember Tim Tebow? — meaning Denver is probably looking to trade the Chosen One.

My take: Gotta admit — I’m surprised because I figured Peyton would end up with Miami or Arizona. He’s 38 35 (thanks, Paul Thompson!), has a creaky neck and has ALWAYS played his home games in a dome. He DOES know it gets cold in the Mile-High City, right? Wondering how he’s going to do in December when it’s 10-below at game time.

That’s why I thought warm weather locales like Miami and Arizona (and even San Francisco, who got involved over the weekend) would be better fits. But hey, he knows best, right?

As for the trainwreck known as Tim Tebow, can’t wait to see what franchise he wrecks next. Probably Jacksonville, where his cult followers will sell out that ratty-ass stadium that has had to black out home games for several years now, although Miami is also listed as a possible destination (although the Dolphins signed former ECU QB David Garrard yesterday).


All eyes are on Illinois today as GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and underdog Rick Santorum battle it out for valuable delegates in one of President Obama’s home states.

My take: Admittedly, Santorum is making this a race worth watching, although the experts say he is merely forcing Romney to spend more money to win a nomination that is probably already Romney’s.

One argument I’ve heard against that though, is this: it didn’t hurt Obama when he and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head in 2008 … and that’s a pretty damned good argument. They kept their names in the news during what would’ve been meaningless primaries while John McCain ran away with the GOP nomination.


A female student had her throat stabbed this morning at Southern Nash High School by another female student.

My take: Yikes. Justin “The Kid” Hill and I spoke to a group of sixth-graders at Woodington Middle School last month and we ate in their lunchroom. I was shocked to learn that you couldn’t get a real knife, spoon or fork — you could only get one of those in the plastic variety.

Seriously? I had yummy Salisbury steak that day and nearly broke my plastic knife and plastic fork trying to eat it.

But it’s stories like this that make me realize that yes, it’s 2012 and we can’t allow kids to have silverware because they’ll stab each other with it. Wow.

The iPod shuffle

Millionaire — Kelis featuring Andre 3000

Your Love Is My Drug — Ke$ha

Megablast — Public Enemy

Union Of The Snake — Duran Duran

Live Your Life — T.I. featuring Rihanna

Morning News Report; March 8, 2012


The nation’s best college basketball conference tournament begins today at noon with No. 8-seed Maryland (16-14) facing No. 9-seed Wake Forest (13-17). Other games today include fifth-seeded N.C. State (20-11) taking on 12th-seeded Boston College (9-21) at 2:30 p.m.; No. 7-seed Clemson (16-14) vs. No. 10-seed Virginia Tech (15-16) at 7 p.m. and sixth-seeded Miami (18-11) and 11th-seeded Georgia Tech (11-19) closing the day at around 9:30 p.m.

The Maryland-Wake Forest winner faces top-seeded UNC (27-4) at noon on Friday, while the N.C. State-BC winner takes on No. 4-seed Virginia (22-8) at 2:30. Tomorrow’s night games feature the Clemson-Virginia Tech victor facing No. 2-seed Duke (26-5) at 7 p.m., followed by the Miami-Georgia Tech winner taking on the No. 3-seed Florida State (21-9) at 9:30 p.m.

For a really awesome — and compact — preview of the tourney, visit’s preview located here.

My take picks: Today, I’m going chalk — I have Maryland, State, Clemson and Miami winning; tomorrow, I see UNC, State, Duke and Florida State emerging victorious.

In Saturday’s semifinals, I’m picking UNC and Florida State … with the Seminoles winning their first ACC championship on Sunday over the Heels.

For a really good ACC Tournament preview, stay tuned — we have Jim Young, the editor of joining Jon Dawson and I on the podcast, which we’ll post in a little bit.


Steve Mazingo, the interim Lenoir County Schools Superintendent, is in negotiations to take over the role on a permanent basis, according to our Justin Hill.

My take: Not exactly a surprise here as the “selection process” was aimed towards keeping Mazingo all along, according to many. But everything I’ve heard about Mazingo is that he’s a straight-up fellow and a pretty good choice for this job.

And kudos to Justin for this report — he’s the only reporter who has been on top of this story from the jump.


Kinston senior Resita Cox has been named North Carolina’s best high school journalist for 2012.

My take: Congrats to Resita, who has interned in our newsroom. She is also one of the smartest, most upwardly mobile young people I’ve ever met — and she has nothing but a bright future.

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Need A Gun — Billy Idol

Cradle of Love — Billy Idol

Best Of Both Worlds — Van Halen

Is There Something I Should Know — Duran Duran

Fortunate Son — U2

Morning News Report; Sept. 14, 2011


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.


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!


According to, 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.


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,” 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; Sept. 13, 2011


Here is Ryan Herman’s story on Kinston High School baseball coach Jason Wade’s firing.

My take: I feel much the same way as I did yesterday when I broke this on the blog – this is a stupid move and one that will set KHS baseball back at least five years. I’ve since talked to several parents of current players and I know this much: some of these players will be transferring to other schools because of this decision.

It is kind of crappy that she decided to do this AFTER school started in an attempt to keep kids from transferring. If she had made this move before school started (and she had the opportunity to do so), it would’ve been easier for them to do so.

And I am perplexed this decision was made without conferring with the athletics director.

Regardless, keep your head up, JWade — you’re a faithful man and I know God has other things for you out there. Maybe next time you’ll go somewhere you’re appreciated.

I’ve already talked to about a dozen coaches, teachers, parents and athletes at KHS — and not one of them is happy with this decision. I know this much: Ms. Bryant stirred up a whole pot o’ stuff with this move (and other decisions she’s made); I’ll have more here later.


A gay marriage ban and potential amendment to the N.C. Constitution passed the state House last night, 75-42. The bill — which would put the potential amendment on the May 2012 primary ballot — now moves to the N.C. Senate.

My take: Seriously? With no money for teachers, our state budget hemorrhaging money and all the other problems our state has … we’re going to waste time and money on keeping dudes or lesbians from marrying? Seriously?

I’ve been pretty straight-forward from the jump on gay rights — I think homosexuals have as much right to be miserable as straight folks. If they want to marry, by golly, let them. It’s been proven time and again, you don’t choose to be gay, so why punish them? And that’s what you’re doing when you deny homosexuals basic rights.

North Carolina prides itself on not being the back-woods type of state like our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. You enact this type of bill and our state won’t be getting the kind of progressive companies such as Google to relocate here. But it’s all right … we have tobacco and textiles to fall back on.



Remember that Northern Guilford team that cheated to win a 3A state title in 2009 (the one that beat Kinston in the Eastern Regional finals that year)? Well, now some parents and coaches from that dishonored squad are trying to win the title back in court after the NCHSAA stripped them of it following a school board investigation in Guilford County.

My take: Another idiotic move from a program that continues to make idiotic moves. This has NO CHANCE (yes, in all caps so maybe it’ll be read in Guilford County) of being successful. In fact, if the NCHSAA is forced to restore NG’s 2009 championship, I’ll paint the school’s mascot on my chest and perform a dance on The Free Press’ front yard.

I wouldn’t get the ol’ camcorder fired up, though, ’cause it isn’t going to happen.

By the by, here’s a good column from FOB and’s Nick Stevens on the matter. And he’s right.


Baseball’s former bad boy, Manny Ramirez, was arrested for a domestic violence incident yesterday.

My take: First, he retires instead of sitting out a 100-game steroid suspension and now this? He certainly wasn’t going to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player … now, he’s probably NEVER going to make it to Cooperstown.


I didn’t post it here last month but I’m sure most of you heard about the Burlington Williams quarterback who died two days after leading his team to a season-opening victory.

Investigators now know why the young man passed away — Harry Cohen took his grandmother’s pain medication and it caused him to have a heart attack.

My take: A tremendously sad story but one that kids all over the state can learn from — DO NOT take medication unless it is prescribed to you. This young man was in the best shape of his life and he couldn’t handle his grandmother’s medication. Just because you feel like you’re Superman or Superwoman doesn’t mean that you are.

Also, please take a moment and read the story — it is extremely well-written by Freedom Communications’ Roselee Papandrea.

The iPod shuffle

Sassafras Root — Green Day

Mama Said — The Shirelles

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones

P.S.: I can eat crow with the best of ‘em, so here goes … congrats to Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark, who whipped my candy ass in our HBFL Live opening game this week, 108-97. What makes this sting more is this was Richard’s inaugural game in fantasy football while this is the start of my 17th year playing. Damn. While I’m at it, congrats to two-time defending HBFL Online champ Brent Pelletier for beating me, 87-79, in Week 1 of that league. Sheesh.

P.P.S.S.: And we’ll close today’s MNR on a somber note — a great man passed away on Sunday in the person of the Honorable Rodney R. Goodman, a longtime Kinston judge. I got to know Judge Goodman while I was dating his niece and he was certainly a funny, smart and wise man. Please join me in throwing some prayers up there for Judge Goodman’s family.

Morning News Report; Aug. 24, 2011


Folks in our neck of the woods continue to prepare for the potential of Hurricane Irene; however, is now projecting she will just “brush” our coast. Here’s the projected path of Irene as of 10:34 a.m.:

Click on the photo for a larger view.

My take: I know weather junkies are going to be sad about this … but it wouldn’t break my heart a bit if the ol’ girl turns her nose up towards the Northeast.


The Free Press guest columnist this week is Lenoir County school board member Giles Stroud, who gives us some insight to the dismissal of former superintendent Dr. Terry Cline.

Among the revelations are that Cline allegedly intimidated school employees and that the investigation into whether the superintendent misused his authority cost nearly $6,000.

My take: One thing you can say about Mr. Stroud, whether you agree with his politics or not — he’s not afraid to say/write what he thinks.


Legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit revealed yesterday she has onset dementia of Alzheimer’s. She will continue to coach this season.

My take: Having lost my Grandma Hanks to Alzheimer’s, I know exactly how cruel that disease is. I’ve never been a fan of Summit’s — or women’s basketball, for that matter — but you have to respect what she’s done to get her sport on the map. My prayers are with her and her family as they battle this terrible disease.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch pled guilty yesterday in Statesville to driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone — and lost his license for 45 days. He was also fined $1,000 and will serve 30 hours of community service.

My take: Seriously? Seriously?

If you or I do that, we’re probably thrown in jail for a year and lose our license for the same amount of time.

NASCAR should suspend him for the same amount of time — how the heck can you drive on a track with a suspended driver’s license? Just another reason to look down on the pseudo-sport.

The iPod shuffle

It’s Bad You Know — R.L. Burnside

Can’t Fight This Feeling — REO Speedwagon

Drive Slow — Kanye West feat. Paul Wall & GLC

Magnificient — U2

Finish What You Started — Van Halen

P.S.: There will not be a Friday night football game this week, as all have been moved because of the potential of Irene. Kinston at South Lenoir, North Lenoir at West Montgomery, Greene Central at Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior at Warsaw Kenan are all on Thursday. Arendell Parrott Academy’s home season-opener against Hobgood Academy has yet to be scheduled, but when it is, I’ll let you know.

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 1, 2011


As expected, Terry Cline resigned as Lenoir County Schools superintendent in last night’s heated school board meeting. According to board chair Rita Hodges, Cline will receive $159,660 in a severance package out of the system’s “Rainy Day Fund.”

What wasn’t expected, though, was that former Greene County Schools Superintendent and Arendell Parrott Academy Headmaster Steve Mazingo took over the role as the interim chief.

My take: My final Cline rant — it was wrong for the board to do what it did on many levels, including financial and professional. As I have stated several times, he was a good man who loved all the kids in this county, regardless of race, financial condition or location. He will certainly be missed.

But while Cline resigning wasn’t a surprise, the choice of Mazingo certainly was. From all accounts, Mazingo did a fantastic job in Greene County and parlayed that into his move to Parrott — one of the top private school jobs in North Carolina.

But he left APA under murky conditions, although it didn’t appear there was anything he did that was questionable — and believe me, we investigated it pretty hard. It’s unusual for a principal or headmaster to simply leave in the middle of the school year without there being some nefarious reason.

The only thing we found — although we never put it in print — was that he butted heads with the APA board of trustees multiple times and that was what ultimately led to him leaving the academy.

Regardless, Mazingo — if the “interim” tag is taken off his title — is going to have some bridges to rebuild with the Lenoir County community, of no fault of his own.

Good luck to both Cline and Mazingo.


Like its pigskin counterparts, the National Basketball Association locked out its players at midnight today in its ongoing labor dispute.

But unlike the NFL lockout — which appears to be headed towards some sort of resolution – the so-called experts think the NBA lockout could possibly wipe out some or all of the 2011-12 season.

My take: If that’s what those idiots want to do … then so be it. The NBA had regained some of its popularity post-Jordan and this is what they want to do? Good riddance. At least we’ll have college basketball to fill the void.


Justin Hill’s Kudzu Jesus story has literally circled the world, including the Washington Post using an Associated Press video report:


It’s appeared in hundreds of newspapers and on dozens of TV reports.

My take: Funny which stories grow legs, eh? Still, a great job by The Kid.

The iPod shuffle

Baby Grand — Billy Joel & Ray Charles

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

Hypnotize — The Notorious B.I.G.

Original Sin — INXS

Travelin’ Band — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Morning News Report; June 30, 2011


Unless things change dramatically, Lenoir County Schools Superintendent Terry Cline is going to tender a forced resignation at tonight’s school board meeting. Here’s my special column on my thoughts about the move.

My take: I’m really disappointed in what’s happening with this situation. Dr. Cline is a good and decent man of God who truly loves the kids in this county. Evidently, he fired the wrong people at the wrong time — or forced the retirement of others.

If this goes through — and there’s really no reason to think it won’t, at this point — Lenoir County is losing a great advocate for its children.


You know that “To Catch A Predator” host, Chris Hansen? Allegedly, the 51-year-old was caught on camera cheating with a 30-year-old in Florida. He’s married and the father of two.

But now for the Paul Harvey Moment: This is being reported by the National Enquirer, Jon Dawson’s favorite paper of record. Although they were correct about John Edwards, the NE doesn’t exactly have a spotless record when it comes to investigative reporting.

My take: Don’t know if it’s true or not … but it’s definitely funny as hell.


Say it ain’t so, Ricky Vaughn; Charlie Sheen admitted he was on steroids for six to eight weeks while making “Major League.”

My take: I’d say I was surprised … but I’m not. Still a heck of a movie — and one of those that, if it’s on any channel, I get sucked in and can’t turn the channel.

The iPod shuffle

Still In Love — Boston

These Are Days — 10,000 Maniacs

Leather — Tori Amos

Raising Hell — Run-D.M.C.

Crazy For You — Madonna

Morning News Report; June 27, 2011


As I announced here yesterday, the Lenoir County School Board is set to replace Superintendent Dr. Terry Cline at Thursday’s meeting.

My take: First — a very well-written piece by senior staff writer David Anderson.

Secondly — I still think this is a very bad idea, and not just because of the immense payout that is going to be necessary. I’ve seen several people talk about the “bad job” Cline did … what, specifically, was the bad job he did? Lay it out for me, folks, I’d like to know.


Michelle Bachmann, a U.S. representative from Minnesota, threw her hat in the ring for the Republican nomination for president over the weekend.

My take: More impressively, she finished second to presumed front-runner Mitt Romney in an Iowa straw poll yesterday.

Here’s what I like about her — she seems like Sarah Palin … but with intelligence. She’s easy on the eyes, but there appears to be substance behind the good-looking package. The GOP is probably happy there now is a somewhat legitimate contender against President Obama.


The L.A. Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning.

My take: Another sad chapter in this sad story — the Dodgers should be one of the preeminent franchises in baseball, not one going through this mess. And it’s yet another reason why MLB has fallen in the minds of sports fans in America.

The iPod shuffle

Mama Said Knock You Out — LL Cool J

Animal — Def Leppard

Throw Your Self Away — Nickelback

Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World — U2

Yellow — Coldplay

P.S.: Please check out my column from yesterday about taking back our city — we’re developing some good ideas, some practical things that we can do to get crime under control. You’ll be the first to know here.