Throwback Thursday: Ric Flair used to date a girl from Richlands

Another in a series of recently unearthed columns written for the Jacksonville Daily News last century, Feb. 23, 1997 to be exact. This one was sparked by what else, a random newsroom conversation. I'm still friends with the major players and Richlands -- pronounced Rich-lands -- is still the center of the known universe (I … Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Ric Flair used to date a girl from Richlands

A county politician’s education karma; or, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Lashley

I know Bill Lashley. I don't know him well, but I have spoken to him several times over the years. He's always unfailingly polite and often complimentary when I have encountered him. He is engaging, doesn't mind a laugh and is friendly to passersby the times I've watched him at  Fourth Fridays in downtown Burlington. … Continue reading A county politician’s education karma; or, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Lashley

Memories of friend and colleague Mike Wilder still vivid after five years

When Burlington Times-News reporter and friend Mike Wilder was in the final days of his 45 years on earth  I began compiling a list of things I would remember about him most. Funny how the little stuff sticks with you. I thought I’d share it again today, the five-year anniversary of his death from cancer … Continue reading Memories of friend and colleague Mike Wilder still vivid after five years

Can’t you smell that smell? Industrial hog farm practices go to court, finally

I saw an Associated Press story this morning about the start of a federal civil trial involving pork-producing giant Smithfield Foods and folks who unfortunately live near massive industrial livestock operations -- sites labeled quaintly as "farms." This is apparently the first of dozens of lawsuits stemming from neighbors of the facilities where millions of … Continue reading Can’t you smell that smell? Industrial hog farm practices go to court, finally

Monitoring breaking news: About that ticker at Elon

Nine days ago on March 13 a sharply divided Elon town Board of Aldermen decided to alter its existing law regarding electronic signs and allow Elon University to begin operating a non-stop news ticker outside the School of Communications, on Citrone Plaza overlooking the main drag -- Williamson Avenue. The ticker had been shut down … Continue reading Monitoring breaking news: About that ticker at Elon

The funeral for Lee Harvey Oswald, a job nobody wanted

News I saw overnight about the funeral in Porterville, Calif. for the late mass murderer Charles Manson reminded me of another occasion a reviled or controversial figure was put to rest. When presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was killed in the tumultuous days following the murder of John F. Kennedy it was difficult to find … Continue reading The funeral for Lee Harvey Oswald, a job nobody wanted

1956: The year Elvis visited Burlington and left high school gyms way behind

One of my favorite features we published during my second tour of duty with the Burlington Times-News was this one by Alamance County historian Walter Boyd. It's about the 18 hours music icon Elvis Presley spent in Burlington in February of 1956, including a performance at Williams High School. That story published in 2015, in … Continue reading 1956: The year Elvis visited Burlington and left high school gyms way behind

Grave Secrets: TV program revisits an Alamance County murder

We found the TV show almost by accident. Someone with the same last name as my spouse was informed that "Papandrea" appeared as the last name of a byline for a Burlington Times-News story from around 2008 or 2009. He tracked down her work email via online search and sent her a message. He wanted … Continue reading Grave Secrets: TV program revisits an Alamance County murder

Take part in this sharing season — for a friend

The Christmas season delivers a large supply of rich foods, rich gifts and rich excess of nearly every description. But it's also a season of mixed messages, confusion, conflicting expectations and an excess of poverty and despair of every description. It can be overwhelming. I'm just as likely to get down around the holidays as anyone … Continue reading Take part in this sharing season — for a friend