Games still on in our area

While those wusses in Raleigh, Greenville and Onslow County are postponing their prep football games for a little rain, the MEN in our area are still playing tonight. Just got off the phone with South Lenoir Coach Kevin Wilson and he said the only thing that would stop his Blue Devils from playing would be lightning.

Also just talked to Ryan Herman and he verified all our games are still on schedule. If there are any postponements, I’ll put ‘em here.

Pppht — wusses.

Morning News Report; Sept. 1, 2011

PERDUE REQUESTS LENOIR CO. BE DECLARED DISASTER AREA

Gov. Bev Perdue made a formal request last night that Lenoir County be declared a federal disaster area. If approved by President Obama, our county would then be eligible for federal disaster funds.

My take: Better late than never — anyone who has seen (or lived through) the devastation in our area knows we are deserving of that designation.

GOOD-BYE IRENE … HELLO KATIA?

With Irene now out of the weather world, a new hurricane has formed in the Atlantic … and her name is Katia. However, officials are saying it’s too early to determine whether or not she’s a threat to the U.S.

My take: Yep, let’s all join in prayer now, OK?

RED SOX BEAT YANKEES … AGAIN

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Evil Empire … err, the New York Yankees … last night, 9-5. The Sawks have now beat the Yanks 11 out of 14 times this season.

My take: My friends, THAT’S domination. It just surprises me that Boston is only 1 1/2 games ahead of New York.

The iPod shuffle

Amazing — Aerosmith

Burning Love — Elvis Presley

Everywhere — Fleetwood Mac

LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude — Justin Timberlake

Chop Me Up — Justin Timberlake feat. Timberland & Three Six Mafia

Morning News Report; Aug. 31, 2011

Before we jump into the MNR this a.m., THANKS to everyone for checking out the Irene videos, pictures and stuff on my Facebook page. I appreciate the feedback (including the several “Are you an idiot?” questions I had.

Anyhoo — we should be back to relative normal (other than the fact I’m off Friday and Monday). What this specifically affects is our HBFL Online Draft, which we suspended Friday. It’ll pick back up at 2 p.m. today — I am going to text all the owners. We’re also going to drop the time to select from an hour to 30 minutes between picks.

I’m also going to post the Blog Pick ‘Em contest in the next few minutes — as many of you saw, we are going to throw out last week as if it didn’t exist. Many of you didn’t have Internet access last week, although I appreciate everyone who emailed and Facebooked me your picks — one person even texted me their picks!

For those of you who know the personal stuff I’m going through, thanks for your prayers and kind words. Not quite ready to share that with everyone here yet, but rest assured — bloggees, you’ll be the first to know before I release it for the world.

OK — now on to your MNR:

7 COUNTIES DECLARED FEDERAL DISASTER AREAS

Seven counties in Eastern North Carolina — Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell — were declared federal disaster areas by President Obama, meaning they are now eligible for federal aid.

My take: Curious that Lenoir County didn’t make that cut, especially considering the millions of dollars of damage in our little corner of heaven. I have noticed in the past, though, that sometimes it takes a few extra days for all the counties eligible to be included. Hope that’s the case in Lenoir County … because there’s a lot of damage from ol’ Irene here.

U.S. VD EXPERIMENTS UNCOVERED IN GUATEMALA

From 1946-48, the United State conducted experiments with veneral diseases (such as syphilis and gonorrhea) in Guatemala on thousands of unwitting patients. An international panel is urging the U.S. to make financial reparations to those who were affected by the experiments.

My take: Sounds fair to me, but it does shock me sometimes to find out what we — as a country — has done in the past.

EIGHT MIAMI PLAYERS TO MISS AT LEAST ONE GAME DUE TO SCANDAL

Eight University of Miami players will be suspended at least one game following an NCAA investigation into the Nevin Shapiro controversy.

My take: Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like that’s a little light. My feeling is that there’ll be more punishment down the line — just not the death penalty everyone was initially anticipating.

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Treat Me Bad — Firehouse

Longview — Green Day

Janie’s Got A Gun — Aerosmith

About A Girl — Nirvana

Why — Annie Lennox

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

Morning News Report; Aug. 24, 2011

IRENE CHURNING ON

Folks in our neck of the woods continue to prepare for the potential of Hurricane Irene; however, Accuweather.com 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.

GILES STROUD ON TERRY CLINE

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.

SAD NEWS ABOUT PAT SUMMITT

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.

128 MPH IN A 45? LOSE LICENSE FOR SIX WEEKS

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.

Morning News Report; Aug. 23, 2011

HERE COMES IRENE!

Accuweather.com is predicting that Hurricane Irene will be strongest storm to hit the Carolinas since 1996.

Here is Accuweather.com’s projected path as of 4:12 a.m. today:

Click on the map for a larger view.

My take: This is serious stuff, y’all — not just another weatherman’s breathless BS warning. Get your water and batteries and prepare to hunker down Saturday.

LETTERMAN LAUGHS OFF INTERNET JIHADIST

David Letterman returned from his two-week summer vacation last night to the report of an Internet jihadist calling for his tongue to be cut out. In his characteristic style, though, Letterman joked about it throughout his program and even blamed the reports on Jay Leno.

My take: Letterman has gone more and more to the left in the past few years, but those are some damned funny jokes in that link. Check ‘em out … and screw the terrorists. Good for Letterman.

KINSTON-SOUTH LENOIR MOVED TO THURSDAY

Because of concerns about Hurricane Irene, the Kinston-South Lenoir varsity football game has been moved to Thursday. The JV game between the teams is now on Wednesday at Viking Field.

My take: The Vikings (the past five years) and Blue Devils (first year, 2005) are the only two teams to win the Freedom Cup, the trophy given to the top prep football program in Lenoir County by The Free Press. In my opinion, Thursday’s game will also determine this year’s winner.

Don’t sleep on South Lenoir — I will make my pick later in the week, but I feel like this is as strong a Blue Devils team as I’ve seen since that magical 2005 season, especially the defense. I’ll say this with all certainty: if Kinston can’t hang onto the ball better than it did against Jones Senior last Friday, South Lenoir will win easily Thursday.

The iPod shuffle

Steppin’ Out — Joe Jackson

Don’t Let Him Go — REO Speedwagon

Why Can’t This Be Love — Van Halen

When I Think Of You — Janet Jackson

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wham!

P.S.: HBFL Online folks — don’t forget the draft begins tomorrow at noon. We will draw for draft order this afternoon and I’ll post it tonight. I will also be sending out an email to all the owners, so be looking for that, too.

Morning News Report; Aug. 15, 2011

KINSTON: 50 YEARS LATER

Free Press Sports Editor Ryan Herman takes a look back at Kinston in 1961, when a baseball team captured the city’s imagination by winning a state title. He takes time to talk to a trio of players from that team (including current Kinston Indians official scorer Steve Oliver), and they tell him what it was like to win that title and what Kinston was like in the 1960s before Vietnam, drugs and the love of money took over the country.

My take: Herman has written some good stuff since he got here almost three years ago — but this might be the best. If you haven’t taken the time to read it, check it out.

Yes, Kinston has declined in the past 50 years; while virtually every county and city around Kinston and Lenoir County has grown, our area has stagnated to the point of falling behind. There are a lot of good things going for Kinston/Lenoir County right now — but there needs to be some serious cleaning up to get us back to those 1960 levels.

Having a pro-active mayor in office has helped, but it’s going to take the hard work of everyone — and not a bunch of bitchy whiners hiding behind screen names on a website — to get this mess turned around. If you care about Kinston and the future of our town, get off your ass and help — there are plenty of opportunities out there to do so.

On a side note: I/we took some heat from some parents for not covering a banquet for the recent 11-year-old national championship team from Lenoir County. Herman had two great stories on the sports front of the TFP (with teases on the front page). We were hit with some calls from the parents wanting us to cover their banquet this past week at King’s Restaurant.

We decided not to cover the banquet for several reasons, but chiefly for this: we’ve never covered a championship banquet before, for any team. On top of that, we’re severely understaffed right now with our two-man sports crew (Herman and David Hall) preparing for prep football (which kicks off Friday night), along with the final K-Tribe season winding down and ECU football heating up.

We are extremely proud of those kids for representing Kinston as well as they did and we are going to run a photo in the Tip-Off section of TFP in a future edition.

STAGE COLLAPSE IN INDIANA

An awful tragedy occurred Saturday when a stage collapsed at a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. At this moment, five have died and dozens more are injured, some critically.

Here’s a video of the collapse:

My take: Terrible, just terrible. Obviously, our prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy. And while it’s virtually impossible to predict acts of God, someone, somewhere should’ve made the decision to evacuate the area before something like this could happen.

RICK PERRY ANNOUNCES RUN FOR PRESIDENT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced over the weekend he is running for the Republican nomination for president.

My take: While I think the GOP has a pretty weak field out there at the moment, I certainly don’t think this move strengthens the bunch. In fact, if anything, Perry — an uber-religious man — pushes the Republican field further to the right.

Don’t take that as me saying there doesn’t need to be some delineation between whichever GOP candidate and the very left-leaning President Obama in the 2012 race — but it’s going to be a hard sell to moderates if Perry wins the GOP nod.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann — despite Newsweek’s attempt to make her look crazier than she already looks — is the apparent leader in the clubhouse with 14 months to go before the election. But is she — or Mitt Romney or Perry — strong enough to take down a weak Obama? I really don’t think so at this moment.

The iPod shuffle

In A Big Country — Big Country

Break Ya Neck — Busta Rhymes

Give It Away — Red Hot Chili Peppers

Honey, I’m Home — Shania Twain

Bitch — The Rolling Stones

Morning News Report; June 2, 2011

Been a hot minute since I’ve knocked out an MNR — seriously thinking about revamping some things here on the ol’ blog … but for now, here’s today’s edition:

SHAQ RETIRES

The Big Aristotle himself, Shaquille O’Neal, announced his retirement (rather, his intent to retire) yesterday on Twitter. He leaves the NBA as the game’s fifth-leading scorer and as one of its all-time greats.

My take: But how great? In my opinion, he leaves the game as the third-best center — behind Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain and right ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Moses Malone.

Overall, he’s certainly a top 10-12 player of all-time, too.

But there might not have been another player in history that combined his considerable skills and remarkable personality. And don’t even try to put Michael Jordan in THAT category — while MJ is arguably the best player of all time, his “personality” was all Nike-generated; he was a sullen, angry player who denigrated his teammates and was hated by the media. No, he wasn’t that happy-go-lucky player Nike tried to sell.

Shaq, on the other hand, was a media darling — and a great player. He will certainly be missed (although he probably should’ve retired a couple of years ago).

TORNADOES TEAR THROUGH … MASSACHUSETTS?

Tornadoes ripped through Springfield, Mass., yesterday, killing four and sending dozens to the hospital.

My take: Since we’ve recently been through this ourselves, we can certainly relate to what these poor folks are going through in the Northeast.

But tornadoes in Massachusetts? What the …? I’m not one who is real big on Revelations and the End of Times, but all these storms throughout the country and other weather abnormalities makes one pause, doesn’t it?

JOHN EDWARDS CASE HEARD BEFORE GRAND JURY

A federal grand jury in Raleigh is hearing evidence against former U.S. Sen. John Edwards about his possible campaign finance violations. 

My take: I only have one word for this — karma. It’s a bitch and this SOB is getting a healthy dose of it. Good. I hope his wife is in heaven looking down and giggling.

But you know what’s going to happen — he’ll make some deal, pay a few thousand dollars and get out of it altogether (see: Mike Easley).

CAPPS, LEWIS EARN ALL-AMERICAN HONORS

Former North Lenoir star and Mount Olive pitcher Carter Capps and former South Lenoir star and South Lenoir pitcher Braxton Lewis were named All-Americans by two different organizations.

Additionally, Capps was named the NCAA Division II pitcher of the year by National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

While Capps is in the NCAA World Series in Cary with the Trojans, he is one of eight finalists for the NCAA D-2 player of the year, which will be announced Monday.

My take: Congrats again to a pair of good guys — and you can vote for Capps here for the honor. Yes, I know the deadline says May 30 … but it’s still accepting votes — so let’s load up the votes for Carter!

The iPod shuffle

I’m A Man — Bo Diddley

L.A. Woman — The Doors

Mony Mony — Billy Idol

Justify My Love — Madonna

Dance, Dance — Fall Out Boy

P.S.: Check out Jon Dawson’s hilarious column in which Dizzle takes up Stephen LaRoque’s offer to clean up his yard.

P.P.S.S.: I am heading to Goldsboro in a bit to cover an NAACP press conference in which they take humbrage at LaRoque’s comments about the organization and its North Carolina director being racist. Should be fun — and I’ll give you my quick-hit reaction to the presser when I get back to the office.

Morning News Report; April 28, 2011

SOUTH LENOIR NAMED NCHSAA’S TOP SPORTSMANSHIP SCHOOL

This morning, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, in conjunction with the N.C. Athletic Director’s Association, has named South Lenoir the Sportsmanship Award winner for 2011.

The Blue Devils will formally accept the award a week from today in Chapel Hill. They’ll also get a trophy, a banner and a $1,000 cash award.

My take: Congrats to Athletics Director Lisa Smith and the Blue Devils — this is certainly a worthy award for our friends at South Lenoir.

TORNADOES SWEEP THROUGH SOUTH AGAIN; THEY’RE HEADED HERE

Dozens of people have died in tornadoes sweeping through the South; now, ENC is under a tornado watch.

My take: I’m not much of an apocalypse-type guy … but these are some scary times. Keep your head down, y’all, and stay tuned to Kinston.com and Skip Waters and the boys at WCTI ABC-12.

NFL DRAFT KICKS OFF TONIGHT

The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, which kicks off at 8 p.m. today (and it appears they’re going to take Auburn’s Cam Newton). The draft will be broadcast on ESPN and NFL Network.

My take: There are so many red flags here about Newton for the Panthers, I don’t know where to start. If they select Newton … they deserve what they’re going to get. The smartest pick, to me, would be for them to take Alabama’s Marcel Dareus, a defensive tackle who will be a star for a decade.

Of course, that won’t be sexy enough for Carolina, so they’ll likely take Newton, who’ll be giving back his Heisman in a few years.

As long as my Redskins make a smart pick (probably UNC’s Robert Quinn, if he slips that far), I’ll be happy.

He won’t be selected in tonight’s first round or maybe even in the seven rounds of the draft, but former Greene Central defensive end Brandon Sutton (who played at Catawba College) will likely sign a free agent contract with an NFL team. But I won’t be surprised if he ends up as a late-round pick.

The iPod shuffle

Stuntin’ Like My Daddy (Radio Edit) — Birdman & Lil’ Wayne

Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check — Busta Rhymes & Rampage The Last Boy Scout

Only Girl (In The World) — Rihanna

My Love — Paul McCartney & Wings

Bridge Burning — Foo Fighters