Opinion: Columns

Oct. 26, 2014 @ 03:53 PM

Column: Hudson dinner theater did it again

Over the years community theater has become one of my favorite local things-to-do, and last Saturday was no exception.


Oct. 19, 2014 @ 01:38 AM

Column: A timely tip arrives for avoiding Ebola

As I sat at the office daydreaming about a coming shipment of fresh, raw Liberian monkey meat – it’s Africa’s sushi, you know – a friend posted a link on Facebook to a list from Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper of the top 10 tips for avoiding catching the Ebola virus.


Oct. 05, 2014 @ 11:49 AM

Column: More than ever, be aware of cancer

Pink. We see it in ads in the newspaper and television. We see NFL players adorned in brilliant pink each Sunday in October. We see pink flowers at the garden store. We see pink shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters in every clothing store. We are surrounded with pink in October.


Oct. 04, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

Column: What people don't know is a lot

You can't have a serious discussion of budget issues if your knowledge of those issues is grounded in fictional numbers.


Sep. 28, 2014 @ 08:58 AM

Column: What's the matter with journalists, governor?

Why is the governor picking on me?

Well, Gov. Pat McCrory’s not picking on me personally, but he says he wants journalists to go away. That’s already happening at a fast enough pace without any outside wishing.


Sep. 21, 2014 @ 04:32 AM

Column: No excuse for domestic abuse

The world of celebrities, in this case the world of football players, is causing concern and conversation across the country, whether it is on national television or over the water cooler. Several athletes are facing charges and trials regarding spousal abuse, while one is facing child abuse charges.


Sep. 07, 2014 @ 08:16 AM

Column: Change stinks, but it's nothing new

Sometimes I just want a big, heavy stick to hit young people in the head with. I’d call it my “You didn’t invent this” stick.

I would use it when I heard some younger person lamenting some condition of humankind that strikes him as a revelation, as though he found the New World, when all he really is doing is describing to you the exact same thing you went through yourself a decade or two earlier – because everyone goes through it.


Sep. 07, 2014 @ 06:15 AM

Column: The signs say fall is almost here

We know it’s the beginning of my favorite season in Caldwell County when Lenoir hosts the annual Sculpture Celebration.


Aug. 25, 2014 @ 09:39 AM

Column: Roy Cooper may feel blowback from harassment case

If the lawsuit accusing District Attorney Jay Gaither of sexual harassment ever goes to trial in U.S. District Court, it probably will hinge on how jurors interpret the text messages exchanged between Gaither and former assistant district attorney Whitney Nicole Shaffer.

How some potential 2016 voters are interpreting Attorney General Roy Cooper's role in Gaither's defense already is clear.


Aug. 17, 2014 @ 04:41 AM

Column: Narcissism is as narcissism does

The good news for some is Kim Kardashian is publishing a new book. And it should be no surprise that it’s 352 pages of selfies.


Aug. 17, 2014 @ 01:43 AM

Column: Legislators keep droning on

Using a drone aircraft to hunt or fish is now a misdemeanor in North Carolina.


Aug. 03, 2014 @ 01:17 AM

Column: Caldwell County officials get pat on back

Many eyes were on Sawmills last Thursday at the ribbon-cutting for Carolina Locust Inc., a new sawmill with ambitious plans for sustainable development and alternative energy.

And not just the eyes of local government and business officials.


Jul. 27, 2014 @ 04:27 AM

Column: A longtime need will be filled

Finally the City of Lenoir and Yokefellow have come together and will operate a full-time homeless shelter in Lenoir.


Jul. 27, 2014 @ 01:26 AM

Column: Realities of parenthood would be best sex ed

If you want to make teenagers think twice about having unprotected sex, all you really need is access to the Facebook posts of young parents.


Jul. 20, 2014 @ 01:21 AM

Column: A passing resemblance to news

Perhaps the most dubious sentence ever printed by the Washington Post ran this past week.

It had nothing to do with Congress, the invasion of Iraq, or Bill Clinton’s sex life.


Jul. 13, 2014 @ 04:51 AM

Column: See what can be done by working together

I was reminded, once again, of how special the people are who live in Caldwell County.


Jul. 11, 2014 @ 02:54 PM

Column: Not in Kansas anymore, or Hawaii

Somewhere in Caldwell County lives a Hawaiian.

I can say this with certainty because of voter data from the North Carolina Board of Elections from 2013 voter registrations, which UNC Chapel Hill’s Program on Public Life has analyzed and posted online.


Jul. 06, 2014 @ 06:52 AM

For the love of a dog

When a story idea about a recently adopted puppy training to become a therapy dog landed on my desk, I was all over it. It provided the perfect combination of two of my passions: animals and writing.

During the last week of June, I met the puppy, Raz, and his new owner, Peggy Hatley. We discussed doing a series of articles as Raz continued to progress in his training to his future certification.


Jun. 29, 2014 @ 06:35 AM

Column: Where do our roads in life diverge?

As a young reporter covering courts in Caldwell County in 1987, I noticed what a high percentage of people facing charges were roughly my age. Sometimes what landed them in trouble was a situation similar to one I had been in, but a different choice here or a different starting point there made all the difference in the outcome.

There was not a lot about Sammy William Sturgill or his background that felt familiar to me, but we were both 22 – he was born in October 1965, I was born a couple months earlier. We were both slim. He appeared to be in better shape. He looked like a nice enough guy, and from the thumbs-up he flashed at the News-Topic’s photographer while being led out of the courtroom during his murder trial, he sure seemed to have a sense of humor.


Jun. 29, 2014 @ 06:22 AM

Column: No easy answers to immigration surge

Is it well-rehearsed or is it true? There are no easy answers for the recent crisis of illegal immigrants flooding our Southwest borders since last October. It is estimated that more than 50,000 immigrants, mainly children under 18, have arrived in the United States from Mexico and three Central American countries.


Jun. 22, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

Column: Dementia is no laughing matter

I can remember a time when my grandparents would joke about their forgetfulness. I can also remember my mother searching throughout her home for her glasses and muttering under her breath, “I am becoming my mother.”

But I also remember a few years later when no one in our family joked about my mother’s forgetfulness because like millions of other families we were living with Alzheimer’s, and our mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly.


Jun. 22, 2014 @ 01:57 AM

Column: News has to go digital or go home

A talented young reporter once seemed stunned to hear me say that one day most people probably would get all of their news, including their hometown news, from Web and mobile devices.


Jun. 15, 2014 @ 06:19 AM

Column: Measuring fatherhood includes follow-through

One of my favorite authors described the importance of George Washington as the "Founding Father" this way: “Fatherhood, as any society understands it, is the result of training and an act of will. A man who would be a father in name only as well as fact must go beyond what is merely natural. A father is a man who follows through.”


Jun. 15, 2014 @ 01:15 AM

Column: The sound of unpreparedness

With summer thunderstorms rumbling through town nearly every afternoon or evening, it is important to have on hand several items in the house. Things like flashlights, candles and matches are all important, but I learned there is one more: nine-volt batteries.


Jun. 09, 2014 @ 09:57 AM

Column: Date a reporter? You can do better

Attention, single people: If you meet a reporter through online dating site eHarmony, run the other way.

Not because reporters make bad partners — not that I’m saying they make good ones, either — but because eHarmony put out a list last week of the “15 reasons to date a reporter,” and little on the list resembles the people in any newsroom I ever worked in or passed through, so I question whether the reporters on eHarmony are telling the truth about their occupation.