Tuesday, October 4, 2016



By Cash Michaels

            LARRY STOGNER – Many of us associated with the news media in the Triangle and across the state were saddened to hear of the passing of longtime WTVD-TV former anchorman Larry Stogner.
            Stogner died Sunday of ALS at the age of 69. He left the air in January 2015.
            When I first arrived in North Carolina in 1981, Stogner ruled the roost on the Durham television station, along with co-anchor Miriam Thomas. He previously worked at WRAL-TV in Raleigh with Oscar Smith, the first black news reporter in the Triangle market.
            The last time I spoke to Mr. Stogner was the day Oscar died. He promised that he would make note of it on that evening’s newscast, and he did. If fact, Stogner paid tribute to his old friend an colleague.
            The last time I saw Mr. Stogner was at the public memorial service of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, who had died of cancer. Stogner, who was over six feet tall, walked in, and went to the front, where he was warmly greeted by Scott’s family. Stogner had been Stuart’s mentor when Scott interned at WTVD.
            Our condolences to all of Larry Stogner’s family, friends and colleagues. He is certainly missed.
HURRICANE MATTHEW – If you’re any where near the expected area of impact for Hurricane Matthew, a monster Category 4 storm that at press time maul Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean, I hope you’ve taken all precaution to protect you and your family. Don’t wait if you haven’t. Fill up the gas tank, fresh batteries for the flashlights, keep the smartphone charged, and get plenty of plastic jugs of water and dry snacks that can get you through in case (in all likelihood) your electricity goes out.
            As North Carolinians, many of us have been through rough hurricanes and tornadoes before, so surviving these storms is almost second nature. But SAFETY FIRST, especially if you have a family. Better that you over prepare and have little to happen, the under prepare and be at the mercy of fate.
            Use your head, and good luck!
            EARLY VOTING IN TWO WEEKS – That’s right, our long, national nightmare will soon be over on Nov. 8th, but our early voting in North Carolina begins on Thursday, Oct. 20th, and we finally get a chance to go to the polls and weigh-in on our considered choices for president, governor, etc.
            I’ll be frank with you… the tone and tenor of this presidential campaign makes you want to leave the country on vacation until it’s over. Problem is if some foreigner realizes you’re an American, and begins questioning you about what in the world is going on with Trump and Clinton, do you really want to get into THAT conversation while you’re trying to get away from this mess?
            I didn ‘t think so.
            So get ready for early voting, and don’t forget, NO voter ID.
            Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
Special to The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal

ESPN’s The Undefeated will present A Conversation with The President: Sports, Race and Achievement – a student forum with President Barack Obama, on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN and WatchESPN) from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C.
The one-hour program will be taped earlier that day in front of a live audience consisting of students and invited guests at the Alumni Foundation Event Center on the campus of North Carolina A&T, a leading Historically Black College and University established in 1891. SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett, a Howard University graduate, will host and moderate the forum.
President Obama will discuss lessons in leadership; the “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative, which aims to address opportunity gaps faced by all youth including boys and young men of color; the current role and legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; athletes and social activism; the Obama Administration’s actions to provide opportunity for students  and more. The President will also take questions from the audience.
A Conversation with The President is being convened by The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiative focusing on the intersection of sports, race and culture.
“We are honored to host this town hall featuring the president at one of the leading historically black universities in the country,” said Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated. “We expect a vibrant conversation about the present and the future, and about the challenges facing black students."
As one of the nation’s most highly respected land-grant, doctoral, higher research activity universities, N.C. A&T has maintained a rich tradition in academics, research, discovery and outreach. With more than 55,000 alumni, A&T continues to produce dynamic, strategic and forward-thinking leaders across diverse disciplines poised for the global marketplace.
“It is a privilege to host President Obama on our campus for meaningful dialogue on a number of diverse and impactful topics that are critically important to address opportunities for growth for the young people in our nation,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “As the nation’s largest HBCU, it is our responsibility to ensure they have the support and resources they need to become global leaders.”
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically black university. It is a land-grant, doctoral, higher research activity university and constituent member of the University of North Carolina system. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, business, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was established in 1891, and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As the pivotal November 8th general l election draws near, with Early Voting beginning Thursday, October 20th and ending Saturday, Nov. 5th, African-American voters have a large slate of candidates vying for statewide judicial seats to consider.
            With over 26 years on the North Carolina bench, Wake Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan, a Democrat, is running to oust incumbent state Senior Supreme Court Associate Robert H. Edmunds Jr., a Republican for an eight-year term. If Judge Morgan were to win the Edmunds seat,  that would immediately shift the balance on the 4-3 Republican-majority court.
            Judge Morgan would also join Associate Justice Cheri Beasley as the second African-American serving on the state’s seven-member High Court, and the court’s only black male.
            “Supreme Court justices review the courts’ records that are generated in the lower courts. They are a reviewing court to see what errors have been committed potentially in the courts below,” he says.
            Morgan has served as state administrative law judge for five years; district court judge for ten years; and his current position of superior court judge for eleven years.
            A native of Cherry Point, NC, Mike Morgan is the oldest of five children. He
graduated from New Bern public schools. Morgan got his B.A. in both History and Sociology from Duke University in 1976. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree with honors from North Carolina Central University in 1979. From 1983 to 1989, Morgan was an assistant state Attorney General in the NC Dept of Justice. From 1989 to 1994, he served as a NC administrative law judge; from 1994 to 2004 a district court judge; and from 2005 to the present a Wake County superior court judge.
            “This [NC Supreme Court] seat must be guaranteed to be fair and impartial, and the fact that I’ve been elected and re-elected by the great citizens of Wake County shows that I have that capacity,” Judge Morgan, who proudly adds that he has been rated high for his professionalism and integrity by his legal peers, says.
            Wake County trial attorney Abraham Penn Jones, who previously served as a Superior Court judge for many years, is vying for the NC Court of Appeals.
            While there is an abundance of legal talent in our state, I believe it would be difficult to find a candidate with the extent of my experience, say Jones.
            Jones served on the bench in the Tenth Judicial District from 1995 to 2012, presiding over civil and criminal trials, among other duties. Previous to that, Jones headed up his own law practice for five years after working as an associate at Adams, McCullough and Beard Law Firm from March 1987 to May 1990.
            Jones was elected to the Wake County Board of Commissioners from Dec. 1990 to Dec. 1994.
            Atty Jones served as a NC administrative law judge from June 1986 to Feb.1987; was an associate attorney general in the NC Attorney General’s office handling Medicaid fraud cases from Oct. 1984 to March 1986; worked as an of NC associate with the law firm of  Kirby, Gillick, Schwartz and Tuohey from Sept. 1983 to Oct. 1984; and was assistant US attorney for the Eastern District from May 1979 to August 1983.
            After graduating Harvard Law School in 1977, Jones served as law clerk in the US District Court and the US Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia from Sept. 1977 to May 1979.
            These perspectives give me the balanced, practical skills that are necessary to fulfill the duties of an Appeals Court judge,” says Jones, who is challenging incumbent Judge Robert Hunter Jr.. “Fairness, honesty, intellectual capacity, a working knowledge of the law, and a strong work ethic are qualities that I value and possess.”
            The Wake county native graduated William G. Enloe High School in 1970 and attended Harvard College from 1970 to 1974 before moving on to law school.
            The father of two daughters, Jones is a member of Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh.
            Another jurist vying for the NC Court of Appeals is Wake District Court Judge Vince Rozier of the Tenth Judicial District, challenging incumbent Appellate Judge Richard Dietz . He was appointed to the District Court bench in 2006, when he was the youngest judge ever sworn to the seat in Wake County history at age 29. He lost re-election in 2010, was re-appointed in 2014, and won re-election in 2014. Rozier has ruled in criminal, child support and juvenile delinquency cases.
            Judge Rozier has served as ombudsman for the State Bureau of Investigation in 2011. From 2001 -2006 Rozier was a prosecutor in the Wake District Attorney’s Office.
            Judge Rozier is an alum of UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998, graduating North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in 2002.
            My years of real courtroom experience have equipped me well to serve on the Court of Appeals,” Judge Rozier says. “This is experience that our Court is currently lacking.”
            The list of candidates seeking election to the NC Court of Appeals also includes Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Rickeye McKoy-Mitchell of the 28th Judicial District. Judge McKoy Mitchell was first elected to the bench in 1998. and has presided over criminal, civil and juvenile cases.
With 14 years of legal experience in state and federal courts, Judge McKoy-Mitchell earned her BA and law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Prior to being appointed to the bench, McKoy-Mitchell served as staff attorney for Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont; attorney advisor for the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration; senior trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and assistant district attorney in the 26th Judicial District.
I am well-prepared to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. It is my distinct honor and privilege of having the longest tenure among those currently serving as a District Court Judge in the 26th Judicial District.” Judge McKoy-Mitchell seeks to unseat incumbent Appellate Judge Valerie Zachary.
Finally, Winston-Salem Attorney Donald R. Buie is also seeking a seat on the NC Court of Appeals, vying to succeed Judge Martha Geer, who stepped down from the court last May. Buie has unsuccessfully run for judicial seats in both the 21st and 18th Judicial Districts in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
Buie has been an attorney in Winston –Salem since 1981, after he earned his law degree from NCCU School of Law that same year. Buie got his BA from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1978.”I believe my wide range of experience as a practicing attorney uniquely qualifies me for this position.”, says attorney Buie. “Having experience in the preparation and presentation of cases at the trial court levels naturally gives me a better understanding when reviewing at the appellate level.


Special to The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal

RALEIGH – More than 50 locally owned businesses have joined the call to end gerrymandering in North Carolina.
The new coalition "NC Business Leaders for Accountability" argues that partisan gerrymandering is polarizing North Carolina’s politics and undermining the state’s business climate as politicians cater to a narrow set of interests.
These business owners are calling for an independent redistricting process that ends partisan gerrymandering and creates voting districts that better reflect North Carolina’s population.
"Gerrymandering undermines competition in North Carolina's elections, which allows candidates to have views that don't represent the public — and that's bad for business in our state," said David Meeker, a Raleigh small business owner who helped organize the coalition. "We need an impartial redistricting process that allows citizens to have a real voice in choosing their representatives. In turn, our elected officials will be more accountable to the people and the business community in North Carolina."
More information on NC Business Leaders for Accountability, including a full list of the coalition’s members, is available at NCAccountability.org.
Comprised of a wide variety of businesses that include local restaurants, gift shops, clothing stores and breweries, the coalition is working with the nonpartisan public-interest group Common Cause North Carolina in its effort to end gerrymandering.
"Redistricting reform is essential to strengthening our democracy," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. "The business community’s voice is vital to help us end gerrymandering in North Carolina once and for all."
North Carolina has long felt the negative impact of partisan gerrymandering. Since 1992, nearly half of all legislative races have had just one candidate on the ballot, leaving millions of voters with no choice at the ballot box. Similarly, the state's congressional maps have been gerrymandered by the legislature in such a way as to minimize competition, undermining the right of voters to have a voice in who represents them.
In the face of ongoing gerrymandering, there has been growing bipartisan support for reform. Last year, a majority of NC House members co-sponsored House Bill 92, which would have taken the power of redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and given it to nonpartisan legislative staff. However, that bill was not given a vote in the legislature.
At the same time, over 240 civic leaders across North Carolina have signed a petition calling on the legislature to pass independent redistricting reform. And both Gov. Pat McCrory and his 2016 gubernatorial opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, are on record opposing gerrymandering, as are former governors Jim Martin and Jim Hunt.
In August, Common Cause filed a potentially landmark lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. 
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy, and is part of the national Common Cause grassroots network of over 625,000 members and supporters in 35 states.
            Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy, and is part of the national Common Cause grassroots network of over 625,000 members and supporters in 35 states.


            [WASHINGTON, D.C] The US Senate has reauthorized the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission, which preserves Gullah heritage and traditions in North and south Carolina, as well as Florida and Georgia. The Gullah culture is derived from generations of former African slaves who lived on the isolated Sea Islands. SC Rep. Jim Clyburn, the original sponsor of the 2006 bill creating the commission, also sponsored the measure reauthorizing it.

            [WILMINGTON] Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency earlier this week in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew, the monster Category Four storm projected to cause massive damage along the North Carolina coast, even if its downgraded. Evacuations have been ordered up and down the coast. UNC-Wilmington evacuated students from campus on Tuesday. The state of emergency covers over 50 counties across North Carolina. Even if the storm, now downgraded to Cat Two, doesn't make landfall, damage could result from strong winds, flooding and tornados, weather experts say.

            [RALEIGH] The top Democrats on the general election ticket have taken the lead in North Carolina. According to the latest Elon University poll of likely voters. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads her GOP opponent, Donald Trump by six points, 44 to 39 with just over a month before Election Day. Meanwhile State Attorney General Roy Cooper has jumped ahead of incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in the gubernatorial contest, 48-44. McCrory was leading by 3 points two weeks ago.


            As one of the most prominent surrogates traveling the country for Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama came to Raleigh Tuesday, urging young people and other supporters during a rally at NC State not only to get out an vote, but take their friends and families with them. Mrs. Obama also blasted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for promoting the falsehood that her husband, the president, was not born in the USA. She called Trump’s attacks on Mr. Obama’s citizenship “hurtful and deceitful.”

            Rolanda Byrd, mother of Akiel Denkins, who was fatally shot by a Raleigh police officer in Southeast Raleigh eight months ago, went before the Raleigh City Council Tuesday chiding city leaders for not equipping police officers with body cameras yet. She noted that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. took only three months to equip their officers. Standing with Ms. Byrd were members of PACT – the Police Accountability Community Task Force. They also called for body cameras with community involvement, changes in misdemeanor marijuana infractions, and a community oversight board. Mayor Nancy McFarland said a pilot program for the body cams begin later this month. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. released the full two-hours of body cam footage from the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.
            Members of the Garner Police Dept. met with citizens Tuesday to discuss the current state of police-community relations, and how to strengthen them.  For the most part, the Garner PD enjoys good community support and trust, but Chief Brandon Zuidema cautioned that that could change quickly. The meeting at First Baptist Church of Garner was held in the aftermath of the fatal Charlotte police shooting that led to several nights of demonstrations.


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