$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Politics, Sports

I never meant to hate Cam Newton.

I was born in Eastern North Carolina, which means I wasn’t born in the heart of ACC country: I was born in Pirate Territory.

I explained to a Kinston tourist that local infatuation with piracy had more to do with a black-bearded man named Edward Teach than East Carolina University, but deep down I knew it was all bluster.

My high school colors were purple and gold; my uncle played at Dowdy-Ficklen back in the 20th century when students could also be athletes; heck my mother got her nursing degree while commuting to Greenville, (but she always rooted for the Wolfpack.)

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament (which is not canon if it’s not held in Greensboro) is broadcast in nearly every classroom in the state of North Carolina, but when you talk professional sports, you’ll see a schism in this state, not concerning allegiance, but degree of allegiance.

The Charlotte Hornets might as well have been in Tennessee when I was growing up watching from Goldsboro (Don’t forget this is when cable was 36 channels) and the most connection I ever felt to the team was through Mugsy Bogues in Space Jam.

I “rooted” for the Hornets, but Charlotte still felt a world away.

When the Panthers joined the NFL, though — I remember hearing about it from a clown at a birthday party in 1994 — I immediately became a fan. Continue reading

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Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

In Kinston, a city’s anxiety crests with its river

 

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National Guard vehicles staged at the intersection of Herritage and King streets on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2016.

The parking lots adjacent to the Chef and the Farmer and the Lenoir County Office Complex on Herritage Street have gradually evolved into an unofficial center of operations for emergency management officials this week in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and horrific flooding that’s displaced thousands across Eastern North Carolina.

Tiffany West Park, where Gov. Pat McCrory addressed the public just a day earlier, was completely underwater across the street from where emergency response vehicles from across

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National Guard vehicles staged at the intersection of Herritage and King streets on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2016.

the state are staged. In post-Matthew Kinston, the area around the Lenoir County Farmers Market gives first responders maximum mobility, with National Guard humvees and swift water boats staged nearby to transport aid should an emergency arise anywhere along the river basin that was once the U.S. 70 Corridor.

With most storm prep finished Thursday, Friday was a day of waiting and worrying for residents and business owners from Herritage Street downtown to Cedar Lane in East Kinston. Continue reading

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Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Neuse River edges into areas untouched by Floyd

It’s been nearly six days since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Charleston County, S.C. and the tropical storm’s atmospheric  remnants have long since dissipated into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving blue skies across Eastern North Carolina for the better part of the week.

In some cities across the east, displaced residents are beginning to get an idea of their losses as the river levels ease off, but in Kinston officials, business and homeowners are bracing for the riverside city’s toughest test in recorded history.

Preparations for flooding events along the Neuse River began even before the rain arrived, as crews cleared storm drains in anticipation of the first October hurricane to strike the Carolina coast since 1954. Every day this week volunteers have gone door to door in neighborhoods expected to flood to warn about the rising water, but it was clear Thursday morning that time was beginning to run out for those evacuating.

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More than 150 community members stood within feet of the rising Neuse River waters at Tiffany West Park during a prayer gathering and call to action. “Where you’re standing is going to be underwater,” Mayor B.J. Murphy told those gathered.

The Neuse crept up during the group prayers of more than 150 community members gathered at Tiffany West Park Thursday morning before Mayor B.J. Murphy and council members Felicia Solomon and Robert Swinson gave the latest update: 29 feet.

Flood stage is 14 feet for the Neuse, which begins in Durham County and empties into the Pamlico Sound near New Bern. “Floyd stage” — the record set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 — is 27.7. By 9 p.m. Thursday the river was at 27.92 and still expected to pick up another foot before finally cresting, although levels are expected to stay near 26 feet through at least Monday, Oct. 17. Continue reading

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