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Thursday, January 29, 2015
What people are talking about, 1/30

In a conversation sure to cause much debate, Forbes magazine ranks Raleigh No. 2 in economic opportunity for blacks. The criteria are based on three factors: homeownership, entrepreneurship and income. Atlanta is No. 1. Charlotte is tied for Baltimore, Maryland at No. 4.

Hate standing in line at the DMV? You’ll now have longer to wait. Raleigh is one of three cities to participate in a pilot program to expand agency hours. The DMV office at 1100 New Bern Avenue is now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Employment is getting more dangerous. North Carolina had 44 work-related deaths last year. That’s 21 more than in 2013. Construction accounted for 19 of the 44 fatalities. “These deaths are tragic,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a statement. “The average age was 43, must too young to become a workplace statistic.”

Where are Republicans? Former Republican state Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston pleaded guilty this week to stealing $150,000 from East Carolina Development Company, a federally-funded nonprofit founded to help small rural businesses. How greedy. This is one reason why the wealth gap is growing: the rich keep stealing from the poor.


Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sports news and notes, 1/28

Norfolk State senior linebacker Lynden Trail had a solo tackle and almost a sack in last weekend’s prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Trail, the first Spartan to participate in the bowl, displayed versatility by lining up at defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker, and special teams. He will participate in the NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis.

1,000 club. Prairie View guard Montrael Scott joined the 1000-point club Saturday after scoring 18 points against Mississippi Valley State. Scott is the first player under head coach Byron Rimm to reach the milestone. The Dallas native is averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game.

HBCU proud. Several HBCU alumni will be on showcase in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between New England and Seattle:

New England:

• WR Brian Tyms, Florida A&M


• QB Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State

• WR Ricardo Lockette, Ft. Valley State

• OG Nate Isles, N.C. A&T is on the practice squad. Whether he travels is a team decision.

• TE Rashawn Allen, Southern, also on the practice squad

Aggie Pride. Former N.C. A&T basketball coach Gene Littles is one of 10 new members to be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony is May 15 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Littles is High Point College’s (now University) all-time leading scorer with 2,398 points. He began a coaching career after playing professionally for six seasons. He led the Aggies to back-to-back MEAC titles in 1978 and ’79. Visit ncsportshalloffame.org for more information.

Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, January 23, 2015
Sports news and notes, 1/23

It may not be national television, but the Jan. 17 matchup between N.C. A&T State and Hampton women on ESPN3 was the perfect matchup for TV. The game was close throughout and showcased two of the best HBCU women’s teams in the country. Hampton is not about to give up its five-time title without a fight.

And speaking of broadcasts, Aspire Network is televising 12 CIAA games this season. Last Saturday’s Lincoln at Bowie State game was TV at its best. The most inspiring aspect of the schedule is the CIAA women’s championship game will be broadcast live. ‘Bout time. Also back is “Inside the Game,” featuring Stan Lewter at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. The only sports highlight show for HBCUs has gotten so much better. I remember when somebody named Buster Brown was the host on BET. Embarrassing!

• Football schedules are being released. Elizabeth City State will host Winston-Salem State in the 18th annual Down East Viking Football Classic Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. Eastern North Carolina fans should be in for a treat.

Norfolk State has a tough non-conference schedule under new coach Latrell Scott. The Spartans open against Rutgers Set. 5; travel crosstown to rival Old Dominion the following week; and finish the three-week stretch at Marshall.

• Alabama A&M recently signed five junior college transfers on National Junior College Signing Day. De’Angelo Ballard is a quarterback from Southwest Mississippi CC who has 4.5 speed. Offensive tackle Derrick Isaac of Pearl River CC is 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds. Defensive end Ryan Ducksworth finished in the top 20 in sacks in 2013 for Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Defensive back Jamal Veazey of Holmes CC recorded 80 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recovers and four pass breakups last season. Defensive lineman Demerrius Williams of Mississippi Delta CC also plays baseball and basketball.

Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, January 15, 2015
What people are talking about – 1/15

Gov. Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced a deal to sell the Dorothea Dix property to the Raleigh. Under the terms, the state will keep using the buildings that house the Department of Health and Human Services. The 307 acres’ purchase price is $52 million. Approval is still pending by the N.C. Council of State and the Raleigh City Council.

Those insurance companies are at it again. This time they are requesting a rate increase for mobile home policies from as low as 0.8 percent to a whopping 20.5 percent effective Aug. 1. Written public comments are being accepted now through Feb. 9 at: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201; or emailed to 2015mobilehome@ncdoi.gov.


Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, January 9, 2015
News and notes, 1/9

Associate Justice Bob Hunter Jr. got a new job for the new year. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Hunter to the N.C. Court of Appeals after his term on the N.C. Supreme Court ended Dec. 31. He fills the vacancy created by Judge Sam J. Ervin IV who became an associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Also appointed was V.A. “Woofer” Davidian of Wake County as a District Court judge. Davidian fills the vacancy created by Judge Jennifer Knox who is now the new Wake County Clerk of Superior Court.

Mo’ money. The toll rate for the Triangle Expressway increased Jan. 1 to 14 cents one way for Quick Pass customers and 22 cents for bill-by-mail folks. That may not sound like much but do it enough times and you’ll feel a difference in the pocketbook.

Silent killer. Colder weather and space heaters bring radon warnings. Radon is odorless and colorless gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Visit www.ncradon.org to order a free test kit. Always, better safe than sorry.


Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Sports news and notes, 1/7

Former St. Augustine’s athletic director and men’s basketball coach Harvey D. Heartley Sr. will get one final honor from the school he helped put on the map. On Thursday, before the women’s basketball game against Bowie State, the Falcons will hold an unveiling ceremony to rename Emery Gymnasium in his honor.

As AD, Heartley expanded the athletic department from three sports to 13. As coach, he is still the university’s all-time winningest coach with 371 victories from 1971-94. Heartley was inducted into the CIAA, St. Aug’s and N.C. Central halls of fame. He died last June.

• The MEAC will host its annual National Anthem and halftime performer auditions Jan. 24, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Funny Bone in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Visit www.MEAChoops..com for more info.

• The CIAA’s first televised game is this Saturday at 4 p.m. when Fayetteville State and Virginia Union men do battle. I know the schedules are done in advance and depends on space, lighting, etc., but who wants to see FSU vs. VUU – except their fans. Too bad Bowie State vs. Winston-Salem State wasn’t televised, or even Bowie vs. Livingstone since the Blue Bears are the defending CIAA champs. It seems they pick the least interesting HBCU games to televise.


Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Sports news & notes

According to footballscoop.com, new Alabama State football coach Brian Jenkins has made several hires: Texas Southern’s Mark Orlando as offensive coordinator; Prairie View’s Prince Pearson, offensive line; Samford’s James Joseph, running backs; Bethune’s Allen Suber, wide receivers/assistant head coach; and Norfolk State’s Donald Hill Ely, tight ends. Jenkins retains Kevin Ramsey as defensive coordinator and DeMarco McNeil at defensive line.

With a month to go till the signing period, two HBCU football vacancies remain: Lane College, which also needs an athletic director, and Virginia State. Both Albany State and Delaware State have interim head coaches. But the real winner so far is new Benedict coach James “Mike” White who is collecting three paychecks. White is a former NFL player, so he gets a pension; he “retired” from Albany, another pension; and now Benedict. He must have attended the Bill Hayes School of Finance.

Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, December 12, 2014
Sports news and notes, 12/12

Former Alabama State football coach Reggie Barlow is not going away quietly. Barlow was released two weeks ago despite signing a contract extension during the summer. Barlow, who was the lowest paid SWAC coach before the extension despite five straight winning seasons, went to the local TV station to air his grievances. His attorney said they will give the university 30 days to change course or they plan to file a lawsuit. Barlow said he was waiting to hear back from ASU President Gwendolyn Boyd. Good luck with that. UPDATE: The Montgomery Advertiser this week quotes board chairman Locy Baker as saying that the university doesn’t have the money to hire a top-level candidate. Then why didn’t they keep the qualified one they had?

Follow the leader. Bethune-Cookman 1959 graduate Franklin Beckwith donated $60,000 to his alma mater. He is one of several alumni to give back. Trustee Joe Petrock bequeathed $1 million, some former students also donated $1 million, and alumnus Harold Lucas Jr. gave $100,000 last year.

Coaching vacancies. The list is down to five: Florida A&M, Norfolk State, Lane College, Alabama State and Benedict. St. Augustine’s made Michael Morand permanent head coach Friday.  According to footballscoop.com, Florida A&M has narrowed its field to eight and will trim that down to three by next week. The eight are: former Louisiana-Monroe head coach Charlie Weatherbie, former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips, Alcorn State offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Willie Simmons, Florida A&M interim head coach Corey Fuller, Virginia State head coach Latrell Scott, former Central State head coach Ester Junior III, Prairie View offensive coordinator Mark Orlando and former Southeast Missouri State head coach Tony Samuel. Scott appears to be a particular hot candidate right now. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Norfolk State has asked permission to discuss its vacancy with him.


Posted by: Managing Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, December 11, 2014
What people are talking about - 12/12

As a gesture of good will and appreciation, the Wake County school board voted to give a one-time $1,250 bonus to school support staff, i.e. bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, teacher assistants and secretaries. Considering most if not all of these positions did not receive raises by the General Assembly, it’s a worthy gesture. Timing couldn’t be any better either with Christmas approaching.

• In the No Surprise department, Gov. Pat McCrory joined other governors in a lawsuit that challenges President Obama’s presidential power on immigration law. President Obama last month bypassed Congress to legalize approximately 5 million illegal immigrants. “The president has exceeded the balance of power provisions clearly laid out in the U.S. Constitution and his unilateral expansion of power must be challenged,” McCrory said.

• And speaking of, McCrory has appointed Chief District Judge R Gregory Horne replace retiring Senior Resident Superior Court Judge C. Philip Ginn in District 24. Ginn will retire at the end of the month. District 24 covers Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and Watauga counties.


Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Christmas Grinch

The Christmas Grinches have started early. Employees of the Denver Post recently contacted Liberty Counsel after receiving a memo banning them from writing or using cards that say “Merry Christmas.” Really?

Newspaper carriers were provided Holiday Cards to give out instead and threatened with firing for using any others. In case those Scrooges forgot, Christmas is a federal holiday. Each season Liberty Counsel publishes a Naughty and Nice list on retailers who either censor or recognize Christmas. See list here at www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=17981, which will be updated regularly.


Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
MEAC Tiebreaker

The MEAC has released its tiebreaker format for this weekend. Read here.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Sports news & notes – 11/13

SWAC basketball will have 11 televised games this season. Beginning tomorrow (Friday) at 11 a.m., Grambling State women take on Old Miss on the SEC Network. Then the men of Mississippi Valley State travel to Indian for a Big Ten Network telecast at 6 p.m., and Alcorn State brings up the rear with a 9 p.m. slot at California on the PAC-12 Network.

Although not televised, Jackson State men come to Raleigh Friday night to take on NC State. It appears the Wolfpack didn’t want to risk another matchup with N.C. Central after being upset by the Eagles last season in overtime.

• Is there any place TMZ is not? A video released by TMZ Sports this week got Bowie State volunteer football coach Charles Grant fired. Grant was shown body-slamming a student to the floor in the school’s gym and then shoving him into the bleachers. Goodbye.

• Prairie View A&M will face Texas Tech in the first round of the NCAA Soccer Tournament Friday at 7 p.m. Although Howard won the SWAC division title, it is ineligible for postseason play in its first season in the SWAC. PVAM is the runner-up. Not a good sign for a conference when a newbie from another conference comes in and wins the division title the first season.

• The SIAC was informed last month that the NCAA had inadvertently missed five games in counting the conference’s total football attendance for the 2013 season. After the adjustment, the conference wins the top Division II football attendance title for the 11th straight season and 22 of the past 24 years.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, October 17, 2014
Scam Alert

The scammers are at it again.

Banking on Ebola fears, scam artists are touting products from silver to herbal oils to snake venom as a cure or to prevent Ebola. Of course, none of it is true, but these people know how to capitalize on fear. Both the Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration have denounced the “cures.” There are NO FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to treat Ebola. None. Nada. Got it?

Second scam: The N.C. Attorney General is warning residents to hang up if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Scammers are pretending to be Treasury officials to trick victims into sending prepaid debit cards to pay unpaid federal taxes. Seven hundred complaints have been filed so far.


Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, October 10, 2014
Sports news & notes – 10/10

After a two-year hiatus, the Labor Day Classic returns to Norfolk, Virginia, in 2016. The game pits Norfolk State against a CIAA squad. The classic was cancelled the past two seasons due to NCAA rules regarding the later start of Division II football.

“I am extremely happy to be able to finalize arrangements to return the Labor Day Classic to Dick Price Stadium,” Athletics Director Marty L. Miller said. “This is a winner for all of our programs, student-athletes and fans.”

The Spartans host Elizabeth City State Sept. 3, 2016; and Virginia State in 2017 and ’18.

• Maryland Eastern Shore will bring back alumni for a weekend of events beginning Oct. 17. Former student-athletes from men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball will bring back their game to show off during Hawk Hysteria and Hawktoberfest. Volleyball begins Oct. 17 at 6 p.m., followed by basketball. On Oct. 18, the baseball team will host its annual alumni game at Hawks Stadium. Alumni will battle the current 2014-15 squad for bragging rights. Any alumni interested in participating should contact Stan Bradley at (410) 651-6499 or email gsbradley@umes.edu.

• Hampton defensive coordinator Kenny Phillips is taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons. Tremayne Henry will fill in on an interim basis. Phillips joined the Pirates and reunited with coach Connell Maynor after serving as head coach 13 years at Fayetteville State. Henry was recently released as St. Augustine’s defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

• Game of the Week: Aspire will broadcast the 79th Annual Tuskegee Morehouse Classic live Saturday at 5 p.m.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, October 3, 2014
CIAA Basketball Luncheon - 10/2/14

Leave it to Jacques Curtis to get the party rolling at Thursday’s CIAA basketball media day. The Shaw women’s basketball coach was saying how much harder it is to win year in and year out. “We got beat by some people last year that we didn’t want to get beat by,” he said. And then the kicker: “Not by Steve, though.” The room at the Charlotte Convention Center roared with laughter and probably some embarrassment for Steve Joyner Jr., whom Curtis was referring to. Joyner Jr. has yet to defeat Shaw as a head coach at Winston-Salem State and now at Johnson C. Smith. Vintage Curtis stuff.

Curtis also had to be a bit miffed that the Bears were picked to finish second in the South behind Fayetteville State. SECOND! Yes, I hear the Broncos are loaded but they’ve been loaded before and bombed at the CIAA tournament. A four-time defending champ shouldn’t play second fiddle to anyone until they are dethroned – even if it is my “good friend” (cough, cough) Curtis.

• New Livingstone women’s coach Anita Howard helped Shaw win a couple of those titles. After turning around a dismal program at Salem College, Howard has an equally tough job at LC. “I’m not going to let you outwork me in the field and I’m not going to let you outwork me on the court,” she said. “We are going to build a championship team.” I believe her.

• St. Augustine’s women’s coach Rachel Bullard said the past week has been a tough one for the campus after the untimely death of football player Matthew Mangram. Bullard said many of her players arrived on campus in the same class as Mangram and were quite upset. It’s also put some things in perspective. “When you lose somebody, it puts into perspective how precious we are, and we need to let the small stuff go,” she said. “We get caught so much in the rut of things and the foolishness.”

• St. Aug’s new men’s coach MarQus Johnson said he didn’t know what type of offense he was going to have, but he did have one goal. “Hopefully, we can win the GPA award,” he said to laughter. “We got to win something.”

Read more in my column next week.



Women’s Southern Division

Women’s Northern Division

1. Fayetteville State

1. Virginia State

2. Shaw

2. Virginia Union

3. Winston-Salem State

3. Lincoln

4. Johnson C. Smith

4. Bowie State

5. Saint Augustine's

5. Chowan

6. Livingstone

6. Elizabeth City State


Men’s Southern Division

Men’s Northern Division

1. Livingstone

1. Bowie State

2. Winston-Salem State

2. Lincoln

3. Fayetteville State

3. Virginia State

4. Johnson C. Smith

4. Virginia Union

5. Shaw

5. Elizabeth City State

6. Saint Augustine’s

6. Chowan

2014 Preseason All-CIAA Team






Donia Naylor



Alisha Mabley



Jadda Jefferies



Deja Middleton



Ashley Porter



Cierra York



Zephrah Pam



Regime McCombs



Tiffanie Adair



Jessica Lyons



Ashle Freeman



Dionna Scott







Andre Jackson



Miykael Faulcon 



Darrell Ward



Joshua Dawson



Emilio Parks



Eric DuBose



Eric Mayo



Larry Richardson



Alphonso Leary



Ray Anderson



Wykevin Baxemore



Marquez Jones




Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, September 18, 2014
What people are talking about - 9/19

You mean something else besides the NFL?

According to the social network WalletHub, North Carolina is the 10th worst state to have a baby. With No. 1 being the best and No. 25 just average, here are the reasons why:

• 16th in hospital cesarean delivery charges

• 14th in hospital conventional delivery charges

• 29th in average annual infant care costs

• 36th in infant death rate

• 42nd in low birth weight

• 21st in number of midwives and OB-GYNs per capita

• 26th in access to pediatric services

• 18th in number of child centers per capita

• 23rd in parental leave policy score

Yeah, pretty pitiful, eh?

A Raleigh task force has submitted its recommendations for the city’s sign ordinance:

Windows: Allow up to 50 percent of the windows per floor per building to be used for signage. That’s an increase from the 30 percent maximum currently allowed.

Vehicles: Signs may not be located within 40 feet of the right-of-way unless screened. Box trucks or tractor-trailers with vehicular signage must be located at least 100 feet from the right-of-way.

String lighting: Prohibit within 100 feet of a residential district.

Governor Pat McCrory Thursday signed legislation that now makes it a felony for giving a prisoner a cellphone. Previously the offense was just a misdemeanor.

And finally, in the no-brainer department, a Rutgers research project recently published that a wife’s happiness is more critical to a marriage’s success than the husband’s. “Happy wife, happy life” is a popular phrase, but I prefer “If mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.”


Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Sports news & notes – 9/13

Reality TV has come to Alabama State Mighty Marching Hornets Band. The band will premiere in its own series called “Bama State Style” next January on A&E Network. Band director James Oliver said the show will be family-based. In other words, no Housewives of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Transylvania or any other city.

“I’ve never seen a band be put on national TV,” senior Bruce McDonald said in the Montgomery Advertiser. “It’s a blessing, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in a band like this.”

Whether you’re a band fan or not, everybody knows you don’t get up at halftime to go to the concessions at a game. You do that DURING the game and wait for the bands.

• The SWAC begins its Mobile Marketing Tour this weekend at Alabama State U. The three-month campaign is to promote the Toyota SWAC Football Championship in December. A SWAC Toyota Highlander will visit several schools with prizes, music and tickets to the game. “SWAC fans are some of the most loyal fans across the HBCU athletic world,” Commissioner Duer Sharp said. “Our goal for the tour this year is to bring the news, information, excitement, and opportunity to the fans and provide them a sneak peak for what is schedule to take place on Dec. 6 at NRG Stadium.” Visit www.swacfootball.org.

• The classic 1999 Gold Coast matchup between Grambling State and Winston-Salem State will be rebroadcast Saturday at 6 p.m. on the ASPIRE network as part of its HBCU Playback Game of the Week. That Magic Johnson’s network in case you didn’t know. ASPIRE is broadcasting 11 HBCU games this season. Next Saturday (Sept. 10) is the Rams vs. Tuskegee live at 6 p.m. That should be a doozy. Now, if only more of us could get the network.

And speaking of TV games, Sept. 20’s matchup between Morgan State and Howard in the New York Urban League Classic will be broadcast live on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. and tape-delayed at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.


Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Sports news & notes – 8/30

Former Jackson State women’s basketball coach Denise Taylor got the last laugh on the university. Taylor was awarded $200,000 by a district court judge for having her privacy violated after JSU released details of her personnel record to the local media. Taylor, who was released in 2011, had previously won a $180,000 breach of contract award in December following a two-year wrongful termination lawsuit against the university.

• Former Morgan State lineman Karim Barton is now a Brown. Barton was picked up off waivers after being released by the Eagles during the preseason.

• Not to be outdone by all the guys playing overseas, former Hampton standouts Alyssa Bennett and Nicole Hamilton signed pro contracts last week. Bennett will play for Division I Waregem in Belgium, while Hamilton signed with the CS Phoeni Galati in Romania. (Isn’t that Dracula’s hometown?)

• The CIAA is holding a press conference Wed. (Sept. 3) with other Charlotte city officials to discuss the new partnership between the city and the conference. Some of it we already know: a 6-year tourney renewal. However, sources say the rumor that the first couple of days of the tourney will be played at Bojangles Coliseum has been pushed back to 2016. We shall see.

• The honors keep on falling for N.C. Central men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton. The city of Raleigh has proclaimed Sept. 2 as LeVelle Moton Day, although I’d like to know what took so long. Also on that day, the NCCU Alumni Association will host a book signing at the campus Student Union at 7:30 p.m. A book signing tour with Moton and co-writer Edward Robinson is also in the works.



Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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