WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is renewing his focus on the income gap between rich and poor.
He’ll deliver an address later today to argue his case that income inequality and wage stagnation are threatening upward mobility and retirement security.
White House says Obama will reiterate his call for an increase in the minimum wage and promote possible economic benefits of the troubled health care law.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/obama-speech-focus-income-disparities/
CHAPEL HILL – Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina will hold its Fall For Children Fundraiser this Sunday at the Chapel Hill Country Club from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Jeremy Salemson, of Corporate Investors Mortgage Group, says Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina is the only state-wide organization that spreads awareness about child abuse and help set up support programs in all 100 counties.
“A very important event this Sunday, this is our third annual event for Fall for Children, this is an event that helps raise money and helps raise awareness for a cause and an organization that does great work throughout the state of North Carolina” Salemson says.
VP of External Relations for PCANC, Maureen McKeon, says that child abuse can be very dangerous and scarring for children.
“The stress of living in an abusive environment and not having the safe, stable, nurturing, supportive relations that they need causes toxic chemicals to be released in their brains and their bodies that physical damage them and result in long term health conditions” McKeon says.
Providing resources and support programs for families can help reduce child abuse. McKeon says she thinks child abuse can be completely avoided.
“Absolutely, when communities have factors in place, components in place, they’re called protective factors, they’ve been proven through research to prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring at all. These are things like making sure that parents have the support they need, the resources they need, access to quality children, access to parenting resources, access to knowledge that helps them acquire the skills they need” McKeon states.
The money raised during the fundraiser on Sunday will go towards helping families prevent child abuse.
For more information on Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/non-profit-news/prevent-child-abuse-north-carolina-comes-to-chapel-hill/
RALEIGH – North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate decreased to 8.8 percent from April’s revised rate of 8.9 percent. The rate in April had been North Carolina’s lowest point in more than four years.
From April to May this year, the national unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent.
North Carolina’s May 2013 rate was 0.7 of a percentage point lower than a year ago.
The number of people employed in North Carolina increased by 1,018 during the month and by 37,331 during the year. The jobless rate declined by 2,451 during the month and 29,767 during the year. This brings the total number of employed North Carolinians to 4,303,514 and the unemployed to 416,565.
However, North Carolina Budget and Tax Center public policy analyst, Allen Freyer previously told WCHL that the month-to-month comparison of the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story of North Carolina’s current economic condition.
The total labor force, as calculated by the Department of Commerce, is the pool of prime age workers who have a job or want one. So a decrease in unemployed people does not always mean an increase in those employed.
It’s also important to note that industry employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns. For example, of the major industries for which pay roll data are seasonally adjusted, Leisure & Hospitality Services had the largest over-the-month gain in jobs between April and May, while many other industries had an overall higher number of jobs despite a seasonal decrease.
The county unemployment rates for May 2013 are scheduled to be updated on Tuesday, July 2, 2013.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/state-unemployment-rate-sees-slight-drop-since-april/
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina gas tax is increasing from 37.5 cents per gallon to 37.6 cents per gallon.
The Department of Revenue says the new rate for the motor fuels tax on gasoline, diesel and alternative fuels starts July 1 and lasts through 2013. The tax is computed using a flat rate of 17.5 cents per gallon and a variable of the average wholesale price of motor fuel during the last six months.
The average wholesale price is a weighted average of the wholesale prices of gasoline and No. 2 diesel fuel. The average price for the last period was $2.8743 cents per gallon.
A new rate will go into effect in January 2014.
Consumers at retail locations pay the tax. The money then goes to the department.http://chapelboro.com/news/traffic/nc-gas-tax-to-remain-mostly-flat-for-next-6-months/
UCLA (46-17) moved within one victory of next week’s best-of-three finals. The Wolfpack (50-15) will play an elimination game against North Carolina on Thursday.
UCLA used two walks, two singles and a wild pitch to scratch out a couple runs and go up 2-1 in the fifth. Two innings before, Vander Tuig tagged out a runner at the plate to keep the Wolfpack from adding to a 1-0 lead.
Vander Tuig (13-4) retired 13 of 14 batters heading into the eighth inning. David Berg came on after Vander Tuig gave up a leadoff single to Bryan Adametz. Berg worked out of trouble in the eighth and earned his NCAA record-tying 23rd save.
NC State starter Logan Jernigan (1-1) took the loss.http://chapelboro.com/sports/state/ucla-defeats-wolfpack-2-1-at-college-world-series/
The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded this week to Adam Johnson for “The Orphan Master’s Son” set in North Korea. It is a very timely selection, given our interest in, puzzlement about, and fear of that country. I have revised and updated a column I wrote last year about the book and North Carolina’s connection to North Korea.
Charles Robert Jenkins. Does that name ring a bell?
Jenkins is a North Carolina native whom I have wanted to meet for a long time.
He knows something first hand about a country that is threatening to send nuclear missiles at our armed forces and at our country’s territory. This strange communist country is led by a hereditary monarchy.
I would like to talk to somebody who knows how North Korea works and how North Koreans think and live. As an outsider living half a world away, I find that this country and its people just do not make sense.
Jenkins, who was born in Rich Square, is one of a very few Americans who have lived for a substantial time in North Korea. While serving in the Korean War, Jenkins surrendered to the North Koreans and wound up living in North Korea for 40 years. As a North Carolina native, he could explain things to me in terms I could understand.
Before the Soviet Union broke up and the Iron Curtain came down, I had the same kinds of questions about life in Russia. Then in 1981, a great crime novel came to my rescue. “Gorky Park” by Martin Cruz Smith followed a Russian detective’s search for the solution to three murders.
The story was gripping, but the best part of the book was its description of how life went on inside Russia. When I finished the book, I had a feel for how people got along day-by-day in that totalitarian system.
Not being able to talk to Charles Robert Jenkins, I have wished for a “Gorky Park” type book set in North Korea.
Now I have one, Adam Johnson’s just announced winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, “The Orphan Master’s Son.” The book introduces us to the novel’s hero, Jun Do, a low level intelligence operative who listens to foreign radio signals from a North Korean fishing vessel. Sometimes the little ship crosses the waters to the Japanese coast and kidnaps ordinary people who will be required to teach North Korean spies how to speak Japanese.
This kidnapping story may seem fanciful. But Charles Robert Jenkins’s wife, whom he married in North Korea, was kidnapped, brought to North Korea, and required to teach Japanese.
In the novel Jun Do and his crewmates kidnap a popular female singer whom they believe will be destined for the entertainment of the Leader or one of his top supporters.
In flashbacks we learn of Jun Do’s growing up in an orphanage, never sure whether he is the son of the orphan master or just one of the many parentless children who are marginalized members of society. As a member of the military, he navigated the network of tunnels under the border into South Korea, opening access for spying and kidnapping there.
We learn how Jun Do was trained to accept torture as a part of the process of disciplining and conditioning to fit in and accept the government’s needs. And we step into the shoes of those who administer torture as a part of reform or punishment.
Did you notice that Jun Do might sound like “John Doe”? It is not an accident. In the early part of the book, Jun Do is the “everyman” of North Korea. Through him a reader sees and feels the ordinariness of the horror that is North Korea.
More horribly though, a reader may come to see how he or she might be able to adapt to live there and accept North Korea’s incredibly bizarre society.
The second half of the book’s story turns fanciful. Jun Do travels to the United States and makes friend and contacts. After his return, he becomes a part of the Leader’s inner circle, falls in love with the Leader’s favorite movie star, and plots to get her to the United States.
If the reader can suspend disbelief, that story is an enjoyable ride.
But what still haunts me is the first part of the book and the terribly believable story of Jun Do that shows how North Koreans really live.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/north-korea-north-carolina-and-a-pulitzer-prize-winning-book/
What an unusual lady! Charming when she needed to be, but tough as nails and mean as a snake. She showed women around the world that they could take the lead in a country that had never had a female prime minister and make it work well.
But, we have learned that she was not a vigorous advocate for the advancement of other women. She did not want to be viewed as a token at any stage of her career. Other women, she believed, should work to advance on their own merit and not be given special opportunities because of their gender.
North Carolina’s own iron lady had similar views, as explained by Anna Hayes in “Without Precedent,” her 2008 biography of North Carolina Chief Justice Susie Sharp.
When Sharp entered law school at Chapel Hill in 1926, she was the only woman in her class. When she began practicing law in 1929, women could not be judges or serve on juries. Nor was there much encouragement for her from the judge who administered her oath for admission to the bar. He lectured her, “Well, young lady, I congratulate you and all like that, but I’d be derelict in my duty if I didn’t tell you that you will never make a lawyer. If you persist, you will just be wasting your time, playing in the sand. I advise you to start right now trying to find something more appropriate to do.”
However, by 1949 her talent as a lawyer and her political connections led to appointment as a superior court judge, which required her to hold court in different parts of the state. At one courthouse she found that access to the judge’s chambers was only through the men’s restroom.
As a trial court judge, according to Hayes, Sharp offered a “sterling example of how a court should be run—knowledgeably, fairly, and efficiently—earning the respect of lawyers and litigants alike. She was a tireless crusader in her courtroom remarks and public speeches for the rule of law as the foundation of democracy, and for active, informed citizenship.”
Her service led to appointment to the state’s supreme court and election as its chief justice where Hayes said in an interview for the book’s publisher, UNC Press, “She was known as a legal scholar whose opinions were models of lucidity, and who undertook on occasion to bring about needed changes in the law…As a woman, of course, through her example she expanded opportunities for women in the legal profession and public life.”
Ironically, Hayes said, Sharp was an “obdurate opponent” of the Equal Rights Amendment in the battle for ratification in North Carolina that raged from 1970 to 1982 and “she exerted every effort she could to defeat the amendment. She based her opposition largely on the arguable idea that women were already protected under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and believed that the ERA would cause women to lose existing protections they had under the law. … North Carolina was considered a critical state whose approval could break the logjam and create momentum toward ratification. … Justice Sharp was undeniably influential in the ERA’s defeat in North Carolina, and to that extent, can be said to bear some credit or blame for its ultimate failure in the nation.”
Even those who disagree with Thatcher’s and Sharp’s positions on women’s issues or other important matters must be grateful for these iron ladies’ tenacious and successful battles that demonstrated powerfully how women can perform exceptionally well and lead at the very highest levels.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.
Next week’s (April 21, 25) guest is Vicki Lane author of “Under the Skin.”
Vicki Lane sets her popular novels on the farms and small towns in mountainous Madison County north of Asheville, where she and her husband have lived since moving there from Tampa, Florida, in 1975. In “Under the Skin,” she turns her mountain surroundings into compelling fiction.
The program will also air at Wednesday April 24 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic Bookwatch program featuring Isabel Zuber author of “Salt.”
A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
Chapelboro.com has been publishing excerpts from Return To The Top on the 20th Anniversary of Dean Smith’s 2nd NCAA title season in 1993. Check the “Hoop it Up” section for all the excerpts from this fantastic series.
By George Lynch, UNC ‘93
In the end, the coaching staff had a lot to do with how all of our talents and personalities meshed together so well. Assistant Coaches Bill Guthridge, Phil Ford, Randy Weil and Dave Hanners all had that competitive spirit that means so much during the course of a long and tiring season.
Before or after every practice, Coach Ford would often challenge one of us to a game of H-O-R-S-E or something just to keep us sharp, to keep us humble and to remind us that he could still play. He liked to point out that he’s the one with the No. 12 hanging in the rafters!
Sometimes when we played H-O-R-S-E at the Smith Center, he would first tell me to go stand on the baseline, turn around and look up. Then he’d say, “Okay, whose name and number do you see up there?” That was his way of trying to psyche us out, but it was also something that the guys got a kick out of. We laughed about it, but we always knew that being remembered – especially at a school like Carolina – was one of the highest honors you could achieve. We knew that winning the NCAA Tournament would give us that opportunity, and that was our ultimate goal.
The next year, when they had our national championship banner hanging up there, I wanted to come back and play Coach Ford one more time. Before we played, I was going to make him walk over to our corner of the Smith Center, turn around and look up. Then it was going to be me asking, “What do you see?” That’s something we’ll always tease each other about.
But the truth is Coach Ford and the rest of the staff had an important part on this team, too – showing up for practice every day, enthusiastic and ready to work hard. That’s the way it is here and that’s the way it should be. Whether you’re the head coach, an assistant, a manager, a star player or the last guy on the bench, you know that you played an important role in our success.
As soon as you come into this program, you feel like you’re part of something important, something unique. You realize there’s a lot of history and pride on the line every time you put on a Carolina uniform. It’s like it’s your duty – and privilege at the same time – to try to carry on the tradition that was built here before you. During the season, many of the former players called just to encourage us. We talked to Kenny Smith, J.R. Reid, Steve Bucknall, Ranzino Smith and just about all of the guys who played here in the last few years. Everyone wanted to keep in touch just to see how you’re doing. Sometimes they’d call to give us a few pointers or to tell us what to expect at a certain point, but the main thing was just to wish us luck and say they were all pulling for us to have a great season.
It’s no joke when people talk about the unique atmosphere that surrounds the Carolina basketball program. The minute you sign a letter of intent to attend the University of North Carolina, you’re part of a big family. When you’re not going well, they’re all there for you and willing to help in any way they can. The other side of that is when you win, you win for yourself and your team – but you win for the rest of your family, too.
It was a great feeling at the end, watching Coach Smith cut down the nets in New Orleans. He’s the man who held this family together over all these years. Our team had been through some tough times with Coach. We played hard every year I was at Carolina, and we had nothing to be ashamed about, but it was definitely hard watching Duke win those back-to-back national championships. After that, I think Coach Smith and the players all felt it was time for North Carolina to win another one. Winning conference championships and regular-season titles were nice, but that’s pretty much common ground around here now. It was time for something different, something bigger, and we did it.
Ten years from now, when you look at the history of Carolina basketball or the history of the Final Four, we’ll be there. All of us – Scott, Matt, Henrik, Travis Stephenson – the whole crew. The great wins over Arkansas and Cincinnati, and then Kansas and Michigan; they’ll all be there forever. When we’re sitting back many years from now, watching Carolina teams in the future, we’ll be able to tell our kids and our grandchildren about the time we were there, about the time we won it all.
The original Senior Diaries were b y Travis Stephenson, Matt Wenstrom, Scott Cherry, Henrik Rodl and George Lynch, as told to contributing editor Lee Pace.http://chapelboro.com/hoop-it-up/return-to-the-top/part-of-a-unique-family/
Why am I thinking about Price today?
I noticed that next Wednesday morning one of UNC-TV’s cable-only channels is re-airing a 10-year-old Bookwatch program featuring Price talking about one of his most provocative books, “A Serious Way of Wondering: The Ethics of Jesus Imagined” in which he speculates about Jesus’s views on homosexuality, suicide, and the plight of women under male domination.
It has been more than 50 years, but I still remember my introduction to the work of Reynolds Price. In 1957 my mother was reading a new book called “A Long And Happy Life.” “This is one of the best books I have ever read,” she said. “And it is written by a North Carolinian.”
My mother thought that she had “discovered” Reynolds Price and his engaging characters. But lots of other people quickly discovered Price as well–and not just in North Carolina. His sensitive and moving stories are about people whom his readers come to know as if they were next-door neighbors. The stories and the characters have enchanted people all over the world.
“A Long and Happy Life” won the William Faulkner Award, and his fiction kept on winning awards throughout his life. Reynolds Price was probably the most prolific of North Carolina’s nationally known writers–with 40 books of essays, poetry, memoirs, translations and interpretation of Scripture, and fiction to his credit.
His great gifts as a storyteller earned Price a place in our country’s literary pantheon. And his description of life and characters in 20th and 21st century America make his work a blessing forever for those who will seek to learn how we lived and thought.
Reynolds Price’s own life reads like a novel. His struggle with cancer, with excruciating pain, and with paralysis that made it impossible for him to move about without a wheelchair, would have taken many of us into despair. But Price refused to give up. He continued to write, even more prolifically. As James B. Duke Professor at Duke University, he taught generations of future writers. His struggles enriched his writing, deepened his spirituality, and inspired his many admirers and still inspire them.
I am thankful for the chance to see and hear him again—even if it is only in the morning on a digital cable channel.
At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on UNC-MX a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4) a classic Bookwatch program featuring the late and much-missed Reynolds Price, author of “A Serious Way of Wondering: The Ethics of Jesus Imagined,” will be aired again.
Ready or not, spring is here and it is time for a seasonal update on new books important to North Carolinians.
This month’s most important literary news is the release of “Life After Life,” popular author Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years. McCorkle fills a southeastern North Carolina retirement facility with quirky residents, staff, and visitors whose encounters with each other make readers wonder whether to laugh or cry. She will be the guest on North Carolina Bookwatch at noon on Sunday, March 31 and Thursday, April 4, at 5 p.m.
Understanding the actions and attitudes of our parents and grandparents in dealing with the system of oppressive racial segregation that confronted them is one of our great challenges. Some of the best Southern writers deal with our past in ways that make for compelling storytelling. UNC-Chapel Hill creative writing professor Pam Durban steps up to that challenge in her new novel, “The Tree of Forgetfulness.” (April 7, 11)
The recent temporary closings of the Hatteras Ferry and coastal Highway 12 remind us that our coast is fragile and unstable. How do we protect it? In “The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future,” retired East Carolina professor Stanley Riggs and his coauthors give the background we need to make good decisions. (April 14, 18)
Vicki Lane sets her popular novels on the farms and small towns in mountainous Madison County north of Asheville, where she and her husband have lived since moving there from Tampa, Florida, in 1975. In “Under the Skin,” she turns her mountain surroundings into compelling fiction. (April 21, 25)
The third and final volume of the “Literary Trails of North Carolina” series establishes Georgann Eubanks as the master guide to our state’s literary history. She has already taken us to Murphy and now in “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina: A Guidebook,” she takes us from Raleigh through the Coastal Plain all the way to Manteo. (April 28, May 2)
Everyone knows our health care system is in trouble, but UNC Medical School Professor Nortin Hadler is more specific and troubling when he says that conflicts of interest, misrepresentation of clinical trials, hospital price fixing, and massive expenditures for procedures of dubious efficacy point to the need for an overhaul. Who is responsible? Every citizen, says Hadler, has a duty to understand the existing system and to visualize what the outcome of successful reform might look like. Hadler provides a primer and guide to action in “The Citizen Patient: Reforming Health Care for the Sake of the Patient, Not the System.” (May 5, 9)
Do you remember “Big Fish,” the wonderful novel by Daniel Wallace and the movie it inspired? They made us suspend disbelief and go into a magical world of stories and characters. Wallace has done it again in his latest novel, “The Kings and Queens of Roam,” which is full of the magic he uses to draw us into his worlds of imagination. (May 12, 16)
How could one of North Carolina’s most important political leaders be both a progressive champion for education and economic development and, at the same time, the leader of the white supremacy movement in our state? N.C. State Professor Lee Craig wrestles with this challenging question in his new book, “Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times.” (May 19, 23)
In reviewing Duke Professor William Chafe’s “Bill and Hillary,” Jonathan Yardley wrote, about the Clintons, “No personalities in recent history speak more compellingly to the importance of understanding that the personal and the political are inseparable.” Chafe’s detailed study of the relationship between the power couple of all power couples shows how their relationship shaped our history. (May 26, 29)
Watauga County native Sheri Castle’s “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes” is a guide to finding the best seasonal foods in our region. She organizes her recipes into about 40 chapters, each featuring a different vegetables or fruit.
More about Sheri Castle:
Castle is a popular food writer and cooking teacher who celebrates delicious and healthy home cooked meals made possible by fresh, local, seasonal food. She has packaged that enthusiasm into “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes.”
Castle’s book has about 40 chapters, each one devoted to one particular fruit or vegetable from apples to zucchini. She suggests that you go to the market without a shopping list, buy what is the most freshly available and tasty, bring it home, consult her book, and find all kinds of ways to prepare your purchase.
Castle entertains her readers with stories about her mountain family and even a song or two. Because I love tomatoes, here are lines she shares from a song by Guy Clark: “Only two things that money can’t buy/That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”
But tomatoes are not the only stars in Castle’s catalogue of fresh foods. For instance, she gives great advice to overcome two different contradictory ideas about how long to cook snap beans. “At one time, most snap beans were sturdy pole beans with thick, tough pods that required extensive cooking to become edible. However, subjecting the newer stringless varieties to long cooking would dissolve them into a tasteless mess. … If a bean pod is delicate and tender enough to eat raw, it needs quick, gentle cooking. If a bean pod is thick and has strings…, it needs long slow cooking. When you know your bean, you know your cooking method.”