|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.”
|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.
|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.
|Thursday, July 31, 2014|
|What people are talking about – 7/31|
We knew that MBA programs don’t come cheap, but six figures? According to Poets and Quants, Duke University’s Global Executive MBA program is the seventh most expensive in the world at $166,000 for 15 months. Not to mention an additional $2,000 charge per elective. UNC’s Global One EMBA comes in at No. 34 with a $105,520 expense. And No. 1? The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business at a whopping $181,500. And it doesn’t matter if you enroll in the home or satellite campus. Is it worth it?
• Where is Pharrell Williams? Raleigh-Durham is ranked No. 4 on a list of the happiest cities in the U.S. with a population of over 1 million. Are you happy?
• What scandal? The academic scandal hovering over UNC-Chapel Hill hasn’t kept away donors. The university netted almost $300 million for fiscal year 2014, its second-best year ever, and a 9 percent increase from a year ago.
• Close the gap. It’s pretty well known that American women who work full time are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to a male counterpart. But black women fare even worse at 64 cents for every dollar paid to white men. That means black women have to work nearly 19 months to make as much as white men in the previous year alone, according to the National Women’s Law Center. And it crosses all occupations from doctors to customer reps to personal care aides. For shame!
|Thursday, July 24, 2014|
|2014 CIAA Media Luncheon|
The luncheon is about the start. So far, I have a whole media table to myself. More seats than media. And need I say why - AGAIN!
45 days till the start of football season. Shaw Athletics Director Marcus Clarke is president of the CIAA AD Association.
Commission Jacqie McWilliams about to speak. Looks good in a green dress. Says conference faces challenges. "Cancelling last season's football championship game was a dark day for us." The board recommended no additional penalties against Winston-Salem and Virginia State after "the fight." Did change the conference bylaws "to make sure it will never happen again." Focusing on developing leadership and sportsmanship. Committee is working on a sportsmanship campaign. VSU had highest graduation rate of athletes at 70 percent.
Student-athlete Ayanna Tweedy gives the invocation. So good to hear somebody use Christ's name at the end. This PC crap has gotten out of hand.
Food is excellent, especially when it's free.
Preseason predictions. No surprises. Virginia State picked to win North. Winston-Salem picked to win South and is the No. 1 overall pick. Another no surprise, Rams dominating the all-conference teams.
12. Lincoln speaks first since the Lions are picked last overall. Coach Ramon Flanigan said they want to become relevant in the CIAA and not just a participant. Lincoln's Akeem Jordan wants to be a Realtor for athletes. He's close to getting his Realtor license. Lincoln opens its season against archrival Cheyney. Flanigan call it the Hatfields vs. McCoys.
11. Livingstone is next. Coach Daryl Williams said QB Drew Powell had rededicated himself academically and athletically. Only 4 teams had winning records last season. Powell was 2012 CIAA Rookie of the Year. Says he has grown on and off the field. Hllman Evans IV wants to be a radio personality or TV broadcaster. Has the name for it.
10. Virginia Union. Coach Mark James is one of two new head coaches. Panthers haven't won championship since 2001.
9. St. Augustine's. Coach Michael Costa is alone. No student-athletes, just like last season. Costa is in his 13th season. Says it's a lucky number. "We're gong to do better than what we did last year," he said. Doesn't every coach think that? Team will play entire season at George Williams Complex on campus. Thinks he can replace Chaz Robinson and Nelson on defense. Chris Roberts, it's his turn now, Costa said. He's played behind other good players, but this year is his. CIAA is not a slouch organization and is not a slouch conference, Costa said.
8. Chowan. Coach Tim Place said last season's 4-6 record was disappointing and that's a good sign. Means people expect better things now. Chowan has killer football helmets. Players like them but Place said he could care less about a helmet. He just wants to win. What else would a coach say?
7. Johnson C. Smith. Coach Steven Aycock says their goal is 11 in a row, one at a time. Jovantay Williams looks quite dapper in his suit and bowtie. Not a fan of men in dreds or earrings. Never will be. Wide receiver Christen Patterson has on Kevin Durant eyeglasses. Talking a little smack. Smith takes on Charlotte. Aycock said there's only one football team in Charlotte and it's the blue and gold.
6. Bowie State. Coach Damon Wilson said the team came together during the final three games of the season. Will go as far as the offensive and defensive line will take them. Bowie getting a new locker room for opponents and a new weight room.
5. Elzabeth City State. Coach Waverly Tillar is in his 11th season. Tillar is looking all serious. Almost forgot what it feels like to have a losing season. ECSU finished 4-6. Got some help on defensive line. We are going to run the football. That's what we're going to do, run the football, Tillar said. Vikings open season against N.C. Central. Latrell (Scott) found a hole and pounded me pretty good. Then Damon (Wilson) came and found that same hole. But that hole is now closed, Tillar said. I'm getting ready for Durham. I've already made 2 reservations: against NCCU and the championship game. "For everybody that beat me last year, I got something for you."
4. Shaw. QB Trevius Folston says he feels like he can do it all, rollout, dropping back, running, whatever it takes. Expect to see many transfers and JUCOs this season. Coach Robert Massey is tired of losing. Folston is 6-7, 230. No basketball in future but coach Cleo Hill Jr. has been giving him a lookover. Marquise Grizzle says he wants the team to come together as a brotherhood and get back to winning ways of 2010, the Bears last championship under Darrell Asberry.
3. Virginia State. You can tell Trojans have a chip on their shoulder. Coach Latrell Scott and Brandon Robinson and Jaivon Smallwood are at the podium. Scott said he was a Joe Taylor fan as a kid. Taylor, a legendary football coach at Hampton, is now AD at Virginia Union.
2. Fayetteville State. Coach Lawrence Kershaw said he had a decent first year but fell short of goal to win a championship. Michael Johnson said chemistry wise, the Broncos are more of a family.
1. Winston-Salem State. New head coach Kienus Boulware says he's been prepared for a long time for his first head coaching position. Was assistant under Rudy Abrams, Rod Broadway, Connell Maynor and one more I forgot. Maurice Lewis says it's harder and harder to win each year. The bar has been set. Boulware said Lewis didn't earn his respect, he "took it." Rams have a QB controversy and a leader will come out of that, he said. The two QBs are Rudy Johnson and Phil Sims. Interesting that Johnson is not here. Larry Hearne is a chemistry major and wants to open up his own practice.
1. Winston-Salem State
2. Fayetteville State
4. Johnson C. Smith
5. Saint Augustine's
1. Virginia State
2. Elizabeth City State
3. Bowie State
5. Virginia Union
|Friday, July 18, 2014|
|Sports news & notes – 7/18|
Current and former Fayetteville State softball players have filed a Title IX lawsuit against the university, according to the Fayetteville Observer. The group alleges inequitable funding and treatment between the men’s and women’s teams. Some of the grips in a 65-page document include forced fundraising activities, limited practice times, inadequate equipment and more. The Department of Education plans to launch an investigation in August. And don’t forget, former women’s basketball coach Eric Tucker still has a wrongful termination suit against the university, which refuses to settle.
• Football kickoff. The SWAC kicks off the football season with its Media Day Friday in Birmingham, Alabama. Robert Williamson will moderate the live coverage at 10 a.m. CST on the SWAC Digital Network. The conference’s website, swac.org, will also carry video and radio broadcast stream.
• He did what?! Folks are still talking about Tuskegee’s Leon Douglas resigning as men’s basketball coach. According to the university, Douglas turned down a compensation package that would have made him the highest paid SIAC coach. However, sources say Douglas has higher aspirations. Don’t be surprised to see him pop up as men’s basketball coach and athletic director at Miles College. We shall see.
• On the move. Former N.C. Central offensive line coach Jamar Harp has accepted the same position at the SIAC’s Paine College, which is playing in its first season of Division II football. According to footballscoop.com, Savannah State has released defensive coordinator Corey Barlow.
|Thursday, July 17, 2014|
|News & Notes – 7/17|
Republican Mayor Adam O’Neal of Belhaven, North Carolina, began a 14-day, 273-mile walk to the Nation’s Capitol on Monday. O’Neal plans to petition politicians for help with health care in his rural community. The area recently saw the closure of Pungo District Hospital, which served more than 23,000 people. Finally, a Republican who gets it! Instead of trying to “get back at the black man in office” state leaders should put up more concern toward their constituents. Then maybe they’d change course.
• Another scam in the works. NC Quick Pass customers are receiving fraudulent emails stating they have an outstanding toll balance. Of course, there’s a link to pay the invoice. Once you do, your account will be cleaned out. NC Quick Pass folks say they NEVER request payment via email. Call 877-769-7277 with any questions.
• The homeowners insurance rate hearing originally scheduled for Aug. 6 has been rescheduled to Oct. 20, 9 a.m. in the Jim Long Hearing Room at 430 N. Salisbury St. Make your voices heard. Those greedy insurance companies are asking for a 25.3 percent increase in insurance rates.
|Monday, July 7, 2014|
|Sports news, notes & rumors - 7/7|
What happened to a nice quiet summer?
Coaches are suing, athletic directors getting fired and band boosters up in arms. Typical HBCU summer, eh?
Grambling State interim President Cynthia Warrick is not letting the interim tag keep her from pounding the gravel. Warrick reassigned Athletics Director Aaron James and released men’s basketball coach Joseph Price on her first official day. Price had coached just two seasons. He issued a statement to the media last Thursday. Read here.
Rumor is women’s basketball coach Patricia Cage Bibbs will be named interim AD.
And speaking of the G-men, a report by Kenn Rashad of TSPNSports.com says the Tigers may be replaced by Langston in the 2015 State Fair Classic. The game has featured Prairie View and Grambling since the 1980s, but a scheduling conflict has the Tigers playing Jackson State on the supposed date of the Classic. Does anybody really want to see Langston vs. PVAM? Stay tuned.
• Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. recently named LLJuan Weir interim AD effective July 1. Weir also is the associate director of athletics/senior woman administrator.
• Texas Southern Marching Band collected all the funds it needed to travel to the NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony after alumnus Michael Strahan donated $100,000. TSU needed $150,000 but surpassed that amount after Strahan, comedian Kevin Hart’s $50,000 pledge and others. Nice job.
|Thursday, July 3, 2014|
|What people are talking about – 7/3|
And then there were two. The Republican site selection committee has dwindled the list down to Cleveland, Ohio, and Dallas for its 2016 Republican National Convention. “As we move closer to choosing a host for our convention, I’m more confident than ever that we’ll have an outstanding partner to showcase our party and our Republican nominee in 2016,” chairperson Enid Mickelsen said.
• Workers in Durham should have smiles on their faces. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Durham’s average wages grew the 14th fastest in the nation to an average of $1,255 weekly – the highest among North Carolina’s nine counties. Wake County’s wages grew a measly 0.5 percent to $984 per week. Of course, if you don’t make as much, I’m sorry.
• Safety first. Last month Raleigh City Council approved a contract with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to provide security patrols for parking decks and parking lots. The nine safety ambassadors will be on duty Monday thru Friday, 6 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight; with some additional hours at specific areas. Call 368-7962.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, and leave the fireworks to the pros!
|Tuesday, June 24, 2014|
|Sports news & notes – 6/24|
It seems everybody is in lawsuit mode. Two anonymous Oakland Raiders cheerleaders recently filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the team, claiming they were denied wages, overtime pay and business reimbursements while being subjected to “degrading comments” and “grueling working conditions.”
Now I can sympathize over the money aspect since they are “employees,” but degrading comments. Hello! Women are subjected to harassment fully clothed; what do you expect when you’re half naked and shaking your booty like a tub of Jell-O. And no, that doesn’t excuse the men but as they say in the publishing field: Know your audience. If you constantly leave your door unlocked at home, chances are you’ll be robbed. Wearing scantily clad clothing around sober male species is bad enough, but when you add alcohol to the equation, well…put some clothes on!
• Bring back the Sound. N.C. Central band fans are not going away quietly. The Sound Machine Booster Club is holding a public forum June 25, 7 p.m. at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham to voice its dissatisfaction with the recent firing of band director Jorim Reid and two staff members, and a “history of pithy allocation of funds and overall support for the band.”
“They simply don’t give them all the money they need to run a successful program,” booster club president Marilyn M. Clemens wrote in a letter. “We’re volunteers. We don’t get paid one dime to do what we do. A lot of people are angry and upset; they want to know what needs to be done to fix this.”
• HBCUs on CBS Benedict at Miles is the only HBCU contest that will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The rivals go at it Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.
• A different world. Prairie View A&M recently unveiled sketches of its new football stadium and field house. First-class stuff. It will rival anything from any FCS or FBS school. Click on this link and judge for yourself. http://www.panther-stadium.com/?page_id=67
• Telling it like it is. Morehouse student De’Von Weatherspoon reveals his HIV status and the reactions from students and faculty in a blog on CocoaFab.com. It’s just amazing how many of us still have our heads in the sand when its comes to HIV and AIDS.
• Crumblin’ Classic. Will Southern have a new opponent in the Bayou Classic? ] According to numerous reports, Superdome officials \ hinted that replacing the G-men would reverse lagging attendance. “If Grambling has fallen off that bad, maybe Southern could take the lead and it could be an earned-in game and bring in somebody else,” said Robert Bruno, the commissioner of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. “I just don’t know if Grambling can carry the load.”
Last year, Southern board member Tony Clayton also expressed dissatisfaction. “For the last several years, Southern has been doing 90 percent of the work and producing 70 to 80 percent of the fans, and we’re having to split the proceeds.”
However, Grambling President Frank Pogue said the university has no intention of dropping out of the televised classic. “This is a fierce, competitive rivalry in terms of football, but it is nothing short of a good, strong marriage between two world-class institutions when it comes to putting on a tremendous week of activities and events on and off the field,” he said. “There is no discussion to change this historic matchup, and there are no plans to change this annual challenge in any way.”
• WNIT bound. Jackson State is one of 16 teams that will participate in the preseason WNIT. JSU will take on Arkansas State Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. JSU coach Surina Dixon was an assistant at ASU in the early 2000s.
• Walkin’ the walk. Actor/comedian Kevin Hart has pledged $50,000 to the Texas Southern Ocean of Soul Marching Band to help the team travel to the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio. Former TSU alumnus Michael Strahan is being inducted.
|Thursday, June 12, 2014|
|What people are talking about - 6/12|
Tuesday will be the 20th anniversary of the white Bronco chase. If you weren’t born 20 years ago, or are too old to remember, it was the chase – and subsequent trial – that changed the world: O.J. Simpson vs. the Los Angeles Police Department. Like JFK’s assassination, everyone knows what he was doing during “the chase.”
“That was the godfather of the contemporary celebrity scandal,” Duke Professor Orin Starn said. “The American public was caught off guard by the strange, low-speed police chase of the football legend across Los Angeles, as well as by the subsequent trial. But we adapted quickly to this peculiar brand of theater. Now, the celebrity scandal has become our favorite national reality show…Simpson avoided conviction on the murder charges. We are very much still living in the shadow of his famous trial.”
• The what virus? North Carolina saw its first case of chikungunya this week in a resident returning from the Caribbean. The virus is transmitted through mosquitoes commonly found in the state. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever and severe joint pains in the hands and feet. Now that’s scary for those of us who are susceptible to mosquito bites.
• The rivalry continues. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently surveyed 13,000 small businesses nationwide. Charlotte got the top spot for businesses with an A, while Raleigh received an A-minus. Small difference unless you’re hated rivals. Durham, for the record, received a B-plus.
• Another blow for working families. The House Finance Committee Wednesday voted not to reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps almost 1 million struggling families. I hope voters are keeping a running tally for the next election.
• NAACP files complaint. The N.C. NAACP and five other plaintiffs filed a complaint Thursday in Superior Court challenging the new building rules instituted by the General Assembly a few weeks ago. The motion will be heard by Superior Court Judge Anthony Fox Friday.
• New appointments. Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent judicial appointees: Robert Seth Banks (Yancey County), with Banks & Bailey, P.A., district attorney in District 23; V.A. “Woofer” Davidian (Wake County), district court judge in the 10th District; Tessa Shelton Sellers (Cherokee County), district court judge in the 30th District; and Hal Gene Harrison (Mitchell County), district court judge in the 24th District.
|Monday, May 19, 2014|
|What people are talking about – 5/19|
The N.C. Supreme Court sided with Parents for Educational Freedom in N.C. and granted a stay to the preliminary injunction issued by a Wake County Superior Court that had suspended implementation of the Opportunity Scholarship program in February.
• Can I get fries with that? Americans for Prosperity distributed earplugs at the N.C. General Assembly to combat activists who planned a “pot and spoon” banging demonstration. “While the opponents of tax reform, educational freedom and job creation are angrily banging on pots like young children, members of our legislature, their staff and others are trying to keep N.C. moving toward a brighter future,” a press release sated. “We want to encourage them to ignore the noise and stay on track.”
• Final settlement. The city of Durham finally settled its lawsuit with the Duke lacrosse players. Read the statement here.
|Friday, May 16, 2014|
|Sports news & notes – 5/17|
Former Morgan State Ian Chiles made an impressive showing at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Chiles averaged 13 points and eight rebounds to help lead Sales Systems, Ltd., to a win over Norfolk Sports Club. The invitational showcases college seniors before professional scouts during the four-day, 12-game event.
• Home sweet home. With just three home football games last season, Tuskegee still managed to lead the NCAA Division II in attendance average with 14,954 fans per game. That’s over 4,000 more than second-place Grand Valley State, which averaged a little over 10,000 fans per game.
• Second chance. Free-agent signings are the norm after the NFL Draft is complete. So far, four SWAC players have signed contracts: Alabama State’s Isaiah Crowell to Cleveland Brown, Jackson State’s Qua Cox to Indianapolis Colts and Rob Smith to Oakland Raiders, and Southern’s Lee Doss to Washington Redskins. In the CIAA, Winston-Salem State linebacker Carlos Fields signed with the Oakland Raiders.
• The rich get richer. Bethune-Cookman football snagged another top transfer. Western Michigan wide receiver Jaime Wilson announced last month that he was transferring to the Wildcats. Wilson, a Florida native, was the 2012 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year. He sat out last season with a broken ankle.
• SWAC football ready? The SWAC announced its Football Media Day is July 18 at the Birmingham Marriott. Last year’s day drew more than 400 attendees.
|Thursday, April 24, 2014|
|What people are talking about - 4/25|
How bad is the teacher exodus problem in Wake County? Check out these statistics from The Policy Watch:
• 9,000 – number of total teachers in Wake County public schools
• 612 – number of teachers that have resigned since the beginning of the school year
• 433 – amount of teachers that resigned in all of the previous school year
• 25 – percentage of teachers that have resigned from Underwood Elementary alone
• $20,000 – amount less one Underwood teacher makes now compared to teaching in California ELEVEN YEARS AGO!
• 45 – North Carolina's rank among the 50 states in average teacher compensation