One On One – Chatham Journal Newspaper http://chathamjournal.com Experience the World of Chatham County, NC Tue, 23 Jan 2018 02:59:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/chathamjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/10888465-four-newspaper-pile-isolated-on-white-background-Stock-Vector-newspaper-icon-headline-5580d7a0v1_site_icon.png?fit=32%2C32 One On One – Chatham Journal Newspaper http://chathamjournal.com 32 32 Experience the World of Chatham County, NC One On One – Chatham Journal Newspaper Experience the World of Chatham County, NC One On One – Chatham Journal Newspaper http://chathamjournal.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://chathamjournal.com/category/opinion/dgmartin/ TV-G 63016882 Chatham County Schools moving positively against testing grain http://chathamjournal.com/2017/09/11/chatham-county-schools-moving-positively-testing-grain/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:47:00 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7982 Pittsboro, NC – Students in Chatham County Schools (CCS) either met or exceeded levels of expected growth at a rate that outpaced many districts in this state. The North Carolina State Board of Education on Sept. 7 released test scores…

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Pittsboro, NC – Students in Chatham County Schools (CCS) either met or exceeded levels of expected growth at a rate that outpaced many districts in this state.

chatham county schools logoThe North Carolina State Board of Education on Sept. 7 released test scores showing that 73.7 percent of schools across the state met or exceeded growth expectations. CCS surpassed that with 83.3 percent of its schools meeting or exceeding growth expectations. The district has 18 schools, and six of them exceeded growth, while eight met growth.

“We’re absolutely moving in the right direction. There’s no doubt about that,” CCS Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan said. “We’re not at the finish line, but we sure can see it.”

The district also outperformed the state in reading and math proficiency at every grade level and made improvements in many areas as a result of focused instructional strategies and interventions.

Action points aimed at improving instruction throughout CCS have been in place for several years. Those strategies include CCS leaders visiting classrooms at schools that have experienced instructional challenges. During the visits, leaders observe, assess and develop support plans for the schools. Those plans have included tailored professional development for teachers, and there’s been a focus on data-driven instruction and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.

CCS highlights from the 2016-17 statewide accountability data:

  • CCS’ four-year graduation rate is 87.7 percent. The state average is 86.5 percent.

  • The district’s five-year graduation rate is 88.6 percent. The state average is 87.5 percent.

  • One of the criteria for measuring school districts is based on the number of students showing up for standardized testing, or Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). In CCS, 94.9 percent of the schools met AMO.

  • The district’s overall performance composite increased for grade-level proficiency, as well as college- and career-ready scores.

  • The district generated overall increases in reading proficiency in grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

  • Each grade level in CCS increased its math proficiency.

  • Composites for science proficiency were tested among CCS fifth-graders, eighth-graders and high school biology students. The district recorded increases for grade-level proficiency and college and career readiness.

  • There was an overall composite increase for end-of-course exams in high schools for both grade-level proficiency, as well as for college- and career-ready scores.

  • Each CCS school either maintained or improved its performance grade. Two schools improved by a full letter grade, with Silk Hope School earning a B and Siler City Elementary School moving to a C.

  • The district outperformed the state in the following areas: reading and math proficiency for all tested grade levels, overall performance composite, AMO participation, reading composite, math composite, ACT composite, Workeys composite, four-year graduation rate and five-year graduation rate.

A full report of CCS’ accountability results is at chatham.schoolwires.net/Page/20912. The Chatham County Board of Education will discuss the results during its Sept. 11 meeting at the historic courthouse in downtown Pittsboro.

A full report of statewide accountability results are at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/.

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One on One: A Chapel Hill monument comes down http://chathamjournal.com/2017/09/05/one-one-chapel-hill-monument-comes/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 21:15:29 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7945 by D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – A monument to a treasured past came down in Chapel Hill last week. No, the Silent Sam statute of a Confederate soldier still stands. The lost monument came from the death of 94-year…

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by D.G. Martin

Chapel Hill, NC – A monument to a treasured past came down in Chapel Hill last week.

No, the Silent Sam statute of a Confederate soldier still stands.

The lost monument came from the death of 94-year old Dickson Phillips, the former UNC Law School dean and long time judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Phillips’ distinguished career spanned an era of important changes. His role in facilitating those changes and helping us adjust to them makes his passage monumental.

But his death also brought to a close an important North Carolina institution known as the Class of 1948 Study Group. More than 70 years ago in the winter of 1946, a group of World War II veterans enrolled in the class of 1948 at UNC Law School. They formed a study group that had a positive influence on North Carolina’s history in the second half of the 20th Century.

Phillips was an important member of the group that also included William Friday, President of the UNC System for more than 30 years and host of UNC-TV’s North Carolina People; Bill Aycock, beloved chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill; William Dees, chair of the university’s governing board; John Jordan, former state senator and also chair of the university’s governing board; and Terry Sanford, North Carolina governor and Duke University president.

Before his death, William Friday talked about the Study Group on UNC-TV in response to a question from Don Curtis, who asked Friday why he decided to go to law school after the war, “Well, you get into an experience like that war put us all in, you were thrown with so many different people from all over everywhere, not only [the]United States, but foreign countries. And you realize how much you need all the education you can get. I came back here with Terry Sanford and Bill Aycock and John Jordan and William Dees and Dickson Phillips, a legendary group of people. We all went straight through and stuck together ever since, worked on things in this state.”

The members of the Study Group spent the rest of their lives supporting each other’s efforts to serve the state. Philips and Sanford were law partners before they took on public positions and remained close through the years. Friday persuaded Aycock to take on the chancellor’s job when he would have preferred to continue teaching law.

Each was ready and eager to help each other and to serve the state.

Speaking to a group of lawyers shortly before his death Friday explained how the members of the Study Group were part of the World War II veterans that Tom Brokaw described as The Greatest Generation. Friday said, “We grew up in the depression and after four years in the military, we knew we were the lucky ones that got to come home…and we just decided to contribute.”

Then, Friday looked out over the group of lawyers and said that North Carolina lawyers, like the ones in the Study Group, were part of a profession with a long tradition. “There is an added ingredient. We must do something extra to leave this place a little better.”

About them and other returning World War II veterans, I wrote a few years ago: They came back from the war with more maturity, energy, confidence, practicality, open-mindedness, discipline, love of country, and competitiveness than any generation our country has ever seen.

Then the country gave them advanced educational opportunities never available to so many Americans before.

With that mixture of healthy traits and education, they caused an explosion of economic growth that underpins our country’s continuing prosperity and success.

The veterans of World War II are a generation to cherish, to thank, and to learn from.

With Dickson Phillips’ death, the Study Group’s living monument has come down.

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel (Spectrum #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

This Thursday’s (September 7) guest is Fred Thompson, author of “Bacon: A Savor the South Cookbook.” Next week’s (September 10, 14) guest is Brenda Remes, author of “Home to Cedar Branch.”

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

 

Thursday 5pm September 7 Fred Thompson, author of “Bacon: A Savor the South Cookbook” 

Sunday noon September 10 and Thursday 5pm September 14 Brenda Remes, author of “Home to Cedar Branch” 

Sunday noon September 17 and Thursday 5pm September 21 Ralph Hardy author of “Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog” 

Sunday noon September 24 and Thursday 5pm September 28 Renee Ahdieh, author of “The Rose & The Dagger” 

Sunday noon October 1 and Thursday 5pm October 5 Richard Rosen and Joseph Mosnier, authors of “Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights” 

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One on One: Confederate monuments and a whiskey speech http://chathamjournal.com/2017/08/29/one-one-confederate-monuments-whiskey-speech/ Tue, 29 Aug 2017 04:05:58 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7932 by D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – Is there some way to help President Trump recover from the damage caused by his comments relating to events in Charlottesville and the future of Confederate monuments? Perhaps he could issue a statement of…

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by D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – Is there some way to help President Trump recover from the damage caused by his comments relating to events in Charlottesville and the future of Confederate monuments? Perhaps he could issue a statement of his position following the model of the classic “If-by-Whiskey” speech given by Noah Sweat, a Mississippi legislator, in 1952 on the controversial question of legalizing the sale of liquor. In that speech, Sweat passionately and convincingly argued two opposing sides of a serious issue.

If our president followed that model, he could explain his position as follows:

****

My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject any further. But as you know I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about the removal of Confederate monuments. All right, here is how I feel about them and the proposals to take them down.

If, when you say Confederate monuments, you mean the memorials to those young men who entered the war of 1861-65 in answer to the call of their country and whose lives taught the lesson of their great commander that duty is the sublimest word in the English language; if you mean those monuments that celebrate Southern pride and stand for heritage, not hate; if you mean those long standing statues which, if removed would erase history and give in to thosewho believe that the way to cultivate democracy and racial harmony is to obliterate physical markers of the past and prettify our mixed American history; if you mean those monuments whose removal would be more likely to freeze than eradicate our nation’s lingering hatreds by eliminating opportunities for critical contextualization to use our past to instruct us for a better future; if you mean those monuments that have been a reminder that while the South lost the Civil War, its people should not lose their respect for the soldiers who fought and fell in defeat; if you mean those monuments that polls show a majority of Americans want to preserve; if you mean those monuments that anchor beautiful and peaceful public places where people of all backgrounds and races gather and whose removal would thus rip apart the landscape, history and culture of our great country, then certainly I support Confederate monuments and oppose their removal.

But, if when you say Confederate monuments, you mean those structures that glorify the Confederacy and its legacy of slavery; if you mean monuments erected long after the end of the Civil War that were part of efforts to support white supremacy and symbolize the white men’s duty and right to rule and which gave legitimacy to the Jim Crow regimes that segregated nearly every aspect of life; if you mean those monuments that have made the black people who pass by them every day walk in the shadows of edifices that honor and glorify those who enslaved, beat and slaughtered such people’s ancestors and who supported  a bloody Civil War to protect the inhumane institution of slavery; if you mean those monuments that are constant reminders of institutional racism, segregation and slavery and have become symbols of modern white supremacy, the KKK, and neo-Nazism, then certainly I am against Confederate monuments and they must be removed.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

***

The complete text is below:

My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

The text of Noah Sweat’s “If-by-Whiskey” speech is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-by-whiskey

Author John Grisham discusses and reads this speech at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPzUcJcgXUA

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One on One: Jim Martin on science and religion http://chathamjournal.com/2017/07/10/one-one-jim-martin-science-religion/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 14:38:49 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7797 By D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – Can a former North Carolina governor bridge the gap between science and religion? Jim Martin gives it a try in a new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and…

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By D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – Can a former North Carolina governor bridge the gap between science and religion?

Jim Martin gives it a try in a new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and Religion.”

Why would he want to take on the task of showing that the discoveries of science pose no threat to Christianity or any other religion?

Martin is a Davidson and Princeton trained chemist. He is a champion of the scientific method and, without apology, endorses the discoveries his fellow scientists have made, including the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe and basics of the theory of evolution.

He is also the son of a Presbyterian minister and himself a lifelong Christian. He believes the Bible is “the received word of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and of any life it holds, on earth or elsewhere. I believe the Bible is our best guide to faith and practice.

“I believe there is, and can be, no irreconcilable conflict between science and religion, for they are revealed from the same God. Even more than that, as a Christian, I believe that God is most clearly revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I firmly believe that a loving God intended us to have the capacity to observe and interpret nature, so that we would grow in understanding the majesty and mystery of His creation and all that followed.”

revelation through scienceHow can Martin reconcile his scientific truths with the biblical account of a six-day creation or with the related belief that the earth was created about six thousand years ago?

He admits that he would sometimes avoid discussion of these questions when he was involved in electoral politics. For instance, as governor he visited the small town of Hobucken on Pamlico Sound. He stopped at the local fishing supply store at R. E. Mayo Company and saw a “monstrous skeletal whale head standing right outside the store.”

Martin remarked to some of the local people, “Wow! That whale must have lived and died there millions of years ago!”

Martin says that everything got quiet. Then, one person responded, “No, sir, we reckon she couldn’t have been there more’n six thousand years!”

“No,” Martin writes, “I did not stand my ground and debate the age of the earth with these fine gentlemen. I knew what I knew, part of which was that they knew what they knew, and this debate was not winnable.”

Now Martin is ready, not to debate, but to explain that science’s conclusions about the time of creation (13.7 billion years ago) and the age of the earth (4.5 billion years ago) are firmly based. More importantly for him, they are not in conflict with religion, including the creation accounts in the book of Genesis.

In his 400-page book, he lays out a seminar for the “educated non-scientist,” explaining the awesome complexities and orderliness of our world. He gives details of the sciences of astronomy, physics, biology, evolution, geology, paleontology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and genomics, including efforts to spark living organisms from inert chemicals.

With every scientific advance or explanation of how the world came about and works now, Martin says there is a further revelation from the Creator.

Does he assert that these advances prove the existence of God?

No, but throughout the book he points out what he calls “anthropic coincidences” that made for a universe that “was physically and chemically attuned very precisely for the emergence of life, culminating thus far in an intelligent, self-aware species.”

If the discussions of science and religion are too complicated for some readers, they should not put down the book before reading its final chapter in which Martin describes his personal journey of faith, study, service, and tolerance and respect for the opinions of those who see things differently.

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel (over the air and on Time Warner #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m. To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/ program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

This Thursday’s (July 12) guest is Kevin Adams, author of “North Carolina Waterfalls.” Next week’s (July 16, 20) guest is Elizabeth Cox, author of “A Question of Mercy.”

Thursday 5pm July 12 Kevin Adams, author of “North Carolina Waterfalls” 

Sunday noon July 16 and Thursday 5pm July 19 Elizabeth Cox, author of “A Question of Mercy” 

Sunday noon July 23 and Thursday 5pm July 27 William Ferris, author of “The South In Color” 

Sunday noon July 30 and Thursday 5pm August 3 Angela Pisel, author of “With Love From the Inside” 

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One on One: NC Treasurer Dale Folwell’s quick response http://chathamjournal.com/2017/07/10/one-one-nc-treasurer-dale-folwells-quick-response/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:24:52 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7794 by D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – “I have just spent a couple of hours trying to negotiate the State Health Plan eligibility exercise and am still steaming about the difficulty I had following its directions. Others may have a…

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by D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – “I have just spent a couple of hours trying to negotiate the State Health Plan eligibility exercise and am still steaming about the difficulty I had following its directions. Others may have a better experience, but I kept thinking about others less well equipped and the time and frustration incurred by them,” I wrote to North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell.

Among his other duties, Folwell is in charge of the North Carolina State Health Plan, which provides insurance to state employees and retirees like me, and to our dependents, for an additional premium.

Last month he sent a letter to the plan’s participants requiring us to provide documentation to show that our family member dependents are really eligible.  The letter explained, “Every dollar going to those who are ineligible is a dollar out of your pocket. As an important step towards reducing costs and eliminating waste, the Plan is conducting an audit to verify eligibility of dependents covered by the Plan.”

The letter directed plan participants like me to go to a website to provide proof of eligibility by uploading copies of tax returns or other documents to show that I was still married to my wife of 50 years. That proof had to be sent electronically and did not allow the simple mailing of a hard copy.

An independent contractor, not the treasurer or the State Health Plan, is running the audit. But the contractor’s website is confusingly interrelated with State Health Plan and other state government websites. They do not work well together for me, so I took another option, one that I would recommend to others. I took a photo of a tax return and emailed it to the contractor. I hope it works. Otherwise my wife will lose her health insurance coverage.

All this seems like a lot trouble for me, but the more important worry should be for people my age who simply “don’t do the Internet.”

Others may have missed the notice. For instance one of my very smart friends is a high-level state employee. When I told him about my problems with the audit, he said that he had not heard about it.

I did not expect Folwell to respond to my complaint anytime soon.

Wrong!

He called and left a message within the hour and wrote an email asking me to meet.  He wrote, “You will not believe a chart that I have that shows the complexity of the State Health Plan.  Everything used to be with one vendor.  Now it is almost a dozen; and the systems don’t talk to each other.”

I took up Folwell ‘s invitation to visit him at his offices on Atlantic Avenue four miles northeast of the State Capitol in Raleigh. In his remote but attractive headquarters, I was impressed with his openness and his efforts over the six months since he took office to save the state money wherever he can.

“We, that is the state’s pension funds, own $6 billion worth of real estate, but we don’t own our own building and pay $1.5 million a year to lease it.”

He has renegotiated reduced fees for the firms investing the state’s pension funds. But management of the State Health Plan, with almost 900,000 on the rolls, may be one of his greatest challenges.

He persuaded me that his decision to order an audit of State Health Plan participants was reasonable. But I still think the methodology was heavy-handed and likely to cause problems for state employees and retirees.

“I hope you’re not right,” Folwell said. “But if you are, I promise that we will have a friendly appeal process that makes things right.”

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Spectrum #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

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One on One: Four books to entertain and disturb you during summer vacation http://chathamjournal.com/2017/07/04/one-one-four-books-entertain-disturb-summer-vacation/ Tue, 04 Jul 2017 14:17:57 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7736 By D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – If you are willing to be both entertained and disturbed by your summer vacation books, I have four new volumes for your consideration: two books by important photographers and two literary mysteries that raise…

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By D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – If you are willing to be both entertained and disturbed by your summer vacation books, I have four new volumes for your consideration: two books by important photographers and two literary mysteries that raise important public policy issues.

First the photographs.

If you grew up in the rural South of yesteryear and remember the landscapes, the crops, the tractors, the people, the country stores and churches, you will identify with UNC-Chapel Hill Professor William Ferris’s book, “The South in Color: A Visual Journal.” In the introduction Ferris writes, “As a photographer of the American South, I sought the Holy Grail—that single image that captures the region in its fullest, most engaging expression.”

His 100 color photographs document life in the South while he was growing up in the latter half of the last century.  The striking photos of ordinary scenes include farm fields, families, and churches. Lovely, but they also disturb as they illustrate the racial divisions that characterized the South. His beautiful and unsettling images mark Ferris as a true artist with an important message.

Earlier editions of Waynesville’s Kevin Adams’s “North Carolina Waterfalls” sold more than 65,000 copies. That is an amazing report, but easier to understand when the reader and viewer see his photographs of hundreds of our state’s enchanting waterfalls and read his detailed and compelling descriptions of the falls, how Adams approached his task, and the dangers to these treasures from human activity.

North Carolina WaterfallsAdams teaches nature photography seminars and leads popular waterfall photography tours. He is the author and photographer of a series of earlier books about scenic Western North Carolina. His new edition of  “North Carolina Waterfalls” includes 300 full color waterfall profiles and, in addition, 700 descriptions of other nearby falls. Adams writes. “The two years I worked on this project were grueling, but they reminded me just how much North Carolina’s waterfalls are in my bloodstream.”

The resulting combination of lovely photography and accompanying background information makes for a classic.

Now, the question-raising fiction.

In award-winning poet, novelist and former Duke professor Elizabeth Cox’s latest novel, “A Question of Mercy,” actions of a mentally challenged teenaged boy begin to frighten other children and alarm their parents. Set in the North Carolina of the early 1950s, we learn the family’s side of this situation through the voice of Jess Booker, the teenaged stepsister of Adam, who suffers from a disabling mental condition.

A question of mercyAt first, Jess is Adam’s unwilling and uncomfortable caregiver. Then she warms to Adam and becomes his advocate, arguing against her stepmother’s determination to send him to a state institution where he would be subject to radical medical treatments including lobotomy and sterilization. As Adam comes to understand what is in store for him, he becomes desperately sad. After a walk with Jess along the French Broad River, Adam disappears. When Adam’s body is found downriver, Jess, who has run away on a long journey of her own, becomes a murder suspect, and the novel’s story becomes, in part, a murder mystery.

with love from the insideThe central character of Hickory’s Angela Pisel’s debut novel, “With Love from the Inside,” is Grace Bradshaw. She knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing—reconnecting with her daughter Sophie, who has moved on to a new life, convinced that her mother was guilty. Over time Sophie learns facts that show her mother was innocent and unfairly convicted. With the help of her mother’s lawyer, Sophie fights against all obstacles to stop the execution. Whether she succeeds or not, her life is forever changed, as will be the lives of many readers who will be moved by Pisel’s poignant debut.

***************

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Spectrum #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

This Thursday’s (July 6) guest is Southern Book Prize Finalist Vivian Howard, author of “Deep Run Roots.”

Next week’s (July 9, July 12) guest is Kevin Adams, author of “North Carolina Waterfalls.”

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

Sunday noon July 2 and Thursday 5pm July 6 Vivian Howard, author of “Deep Run Roots” 

Sunday noon July 9 and Thursday 5pm July 12 Kevin Adams, author of “North Carolina Waterfalls” 

Sunday noon July 16 and Thursday 5pm July 20 Elizabeth Cox, author of “A Question of Mercy” 

Sunday noon July 23 and Thursday 5pm July 27 William Ferris, author of “The South In Color” 

Sunday noon July 30 and Thursday 5pm August 3 Angela Pisel, author of “With Love From the Inside” 

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One on One: Don’t let the riptide of angry politics pull you under http://chathamjournal.com/2017/07/03/one-on-one-dont-let-the-riptide-of-angry-politics-pull-you-under/ Tue, 04 Jul 2017 02:09:02 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7721 By D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – What is the biggest challenge that we, as individuals, face in this time of angry, petty, and deceptive politics that has infected our public life and seems to be pulling each of us under,…

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By D.G. Martin

D.G. Martin

Chapel Hill, NC – What is the biggest challenge that we, as individuals, face in this time of angry, petty, and deceptive politics that has infected our public life and seems to be pulling each of us under, sucking out of us every ounce of our humanity?

It is as if we are in an angry and turbulent ocean.  The riptide is carrying us away from shore, and even as we fight with all our strength, it is still pulling us under.

So it is with the riptide of politics of anger and disrespect. We fight and flail with all our strength, and lose our battle in the ocean of politics by our own anger and mean-spiritedness.

So what can we do to save ourselves and not give up our strong political beliefs and principles?

I have no magic answers. I’m still caught in that riptide. But I think there are things we can do to calm our personal waters without giving up our commitment to participate in the political system and try to strengthen our country and improve the lives of its citizens.

Here are a few things I am going to try to do:

  1. Cut back or cut out cable news and opinion channels. Instead, watch the informative and enriching programs like those on UNC-TV’s Explorer and North Carolina channels.
  2. Be kind to those who oppose you, even when they show no kindness and reek of anger.
  3. Resist mean-spiritedness. It is so easy to let provocative statements that ooze with anger jar us off balance and tempt us to respond in a similar fashion. Such responses are almost always ineffective and drag us down to the level of the person who made the original statement.
  4. Think critically, check facts, and frame your conversation about issues based on your own thinking, rather than on what people on your side have asserted.In The New Yorker in 1983, Ken Auletta wrote that the most important thing he had learned was to“have an independent mind–to think for oneself, to analyze by oneself, not to follow fashions, not to think like everyone else, not to seek honor or decorations, not to become part of the establishment.”
  5. Build relationships with people who have distinctly different political views. Find ways to work with them in areas in which you both can agree to be helpful to others. Habitat for Humanity, prison ministries, and food services seem to be able to gather volunteers from all political persuasions to work together.In a recent column in The Herald-Sun, retired minister Joe Harvard asked, “When someone does something to you that hurts or something happens that shakes you to the core, how do you respond?”

His answer: Build bridges.

  1. Set aside a quiet time each day for reflection. In your prayers or meditations, seek wisdom rather than ask for specific help for your partisan political cause.
  2. Generously support those who’ve taken on the burden of political service, and even give appropriate moral support to officials with whom you disagree.
  3. Rejoice when there are unexpected acts of kindness from opponents. For instance, the next time the governor sends out cookies for you when you are demonstrating in front of the governor’s mansion against him or her, be gracious. Take a break and invite the governor to come eat the cookies with you before you go back to your protest.
  4. Be cheerful, even when it hurts.
  5. Smile.
  6. Don’t give up your fight for your principles, but never give in to the evil mean-spiritedness that too many others on all sides have adopted.

Don’t let that riptide of angry politics pull you under. Swim away, find calm waters, and save yourself.

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D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Spectrum #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

 

Sunday noon July 9 and Thursday 5pm July 12 Kevin Adams, author of “North Carolina Waterfalls” 

Sunday noon July 16 and Thursday 5pm July 20 Elizabeth Cox, author of “A Question of Mercy” 

One on One: Don’t let the riptide of angry politics pull you under appeared first on Chatham Journal Newspaper.

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Dangers of the blame game http://chathamjournal.com/2017/04/24/dangers-blame-game/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:20:52 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7645 by D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – Reactions to the so-called repeal of HB2 show one reason why Democrats are already in trouble for the 2018 and 2020 elections. They had hoped this year would be a time of unity…

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by D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – Reactions to the so-called repeal of HB2 show one reason why Democrats are already in trouble for the 2018 and 2020 elections. They had hoped this year would be a time of unity to mobilize opposition to the “mis-administration” of the other party in Washington and the state legislature.

Instead of strengthening their party and bringing it together for successfully ridding the state of much of the damage from HB2, the repeal has brought about more disappointment and disunity. Instead of unifying and celebrating the achievement of their party’s leader, Gov. Roy Cooper, Democrats have broken into angry factions.

Many of the state’s more important and influential figures have attacked the governor for “selling out” by accepting a compromise, which is, so they say, worse than HB2 itself.

Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate, noted, “As soon as the ‘compromise’ bill was revealed, however, LGBTQ groups lined up against it, arguing, in essence, that the cure would be worse than the disease. They are absolutely correct. The measure, HB142, would be an unmitigated disaster for LGBTQ rights. It substitutes the old anti-trans policy for new, equally cruel one—and prevents cities from protecting their own LGBTQ residents. This bill is not a compromise. It is a capitulation.”

The editorial board of The Charlotte Observer joined the chorus criticizing Cooper, calling his actions “a betrayal of the promises the governor made to the LGBT community.”

Continuing its harsh attack, the Observer wrote, “This was the first real test of leadership for Gov. Cooper, a Democrat, and he failed spectacularly by inexplicably discarding his earlier promise not to accept any deal that left people vulnerable to discrimination.”

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, wrote “Bitterly disappointed in a man I truly believed was the future of North Carolina.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote that while Cooper was taking credit for HB2’s repeal, “He did no such thing. Instead he signed a new version of HB2 and betrayed [his] campaign promise.”

One radio caller, angry with Cooper and the compromise, said she would rather carry the burden of HB2 for a lifetime than accept a compromise or anything other than the law’s unconditional repeal.

At least this caller recognized the choices that were then available to Cooper:

  1. Negotiate a compromise with the legislators who passed HB2 in the first place, who still supported it, and who still had control of the legislature, or
  2. Live with HB2 indefinitely, at least until, when and if, the political situation in North Carolina changes.

Most Republicans were not eager to repeal HB2. Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest defended it and opposed the compromise: “I’m proud of the stance we’ve taken. I’m proud of the work we did to protect women and kids in bathrooms. I’m proud of the work we did to uphold the Constitution. I think that the only thing that was wrong with HB2 was the false narrative and the negative narrative from the left, from the media, from the leftist groups out there who were coming against North Carolina and boycotting North Carolina.”

Forrest’s comments are a reminder that legislative supporters of a full repeal were a minority against a steadfast majority that was unwilling to support and vote for an unconditional appeal.

To get HB2 repealed, there had to be a compromise.

It is certainly fair to criticize the compromise and work for an expansion of protections for gay and transgender rights.

But now is not the time to turn on Cooper just because he did not get it all.

There will be other chances, after elections in coming years.  But Democrats who are trashing Cooper and those who supported the compromise are jeopardizing their party’s unity and its chances to do well in those upcoming elections.

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Spectrum #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

This Thursday’s (April 27) guests ware Richard Rosen and Joseph Mosnier, authors of “Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights.”

 Next week’s (April 30, May 4) guest is Matthew Griffin, author of “Hide.”

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

Upcoming guests: 

Sunday noon May 7 and Thursday 5pm May 11 Randall Kenan, editor of “The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food “ 

Sunday noon May 14 and Thursday 5pm May 18 Donna Everhart, author of “The Education of Dixie Dupree” 

Sunday noon May 21 and Thursday 5pm May 25 John Claude Bemis author of “Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince” 

Sunday noon May 28 and Thursday 5pm June 1 John Semonche, author of “Pick Nick: The Political Odyssey of Nick Galifianakis from Immigrant Son to Congressman” 

Dangers of the blame game appeared first on Chatham Journal Newspaper.

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One on One: A North Carolina mountain woman’s adventure in Bulgaria http://chathamjournal.com/2017/04/23/one-one-north-carolina-mountain-womans-adventure-bulgaria/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:40:58 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7618 By D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – Why would North Carolinian Elizabeth Kostova, who is a New York Times No.1 bestselling author, set her action-packed novel in Bulgaria? I will give you an answer in a minute. But first, a…

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One on One: A North Carolina mountain woman’s adventure in Bulgaria appeared first on Chatham Journal Newspaper.

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By D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – Why would North Carolinian Elizabeth Kostova, who is a New York Times No.1 bestselling author, set her action-packed novel in Bulgaria?

I will give you an answer in a minute. But first, a little bit about her new book, “The Shadow Land.”

Its main character is a young North Carolina mountain woman, Alexandra Boyd. On her first day in the country she meets a small Bulgarian family group. They tell her they are on the way to a beautiful monastery and suggest she consider visiting it later. After they part ways, Alexandra finds that she has a satchel that belongs to the Bulgarian group.

A young taxi driver called Bobby befriends her as she seeks to find the satchel’s owners. In the satchel is a wooden urn, containing ashes and inscribed with the name Stoyan Lazarov.

She and Bobby report the incident to the local police. They give them an address for Lazarov.

Elizabeth Kostova Shadow LandFirst, they rush to the monastery and search for the Bulgarian group, but find no one. As they prepare to leave, they realize that they have been locked in a room. Alexandra thinks, “nothing in her previous experience had prepared her for the feeling of being suddenly locked in a monastic room with a stranger five thousand miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains, holding an urn containing the ashes of another stranger. In addition to being tired and afraid, she was suddenly a thief, a vagrant and a prisoner.”

Although they escape from the monastery, they cannot escape a growing awareness that they are being followed and that possessing this urn has put them in danger.

Nevertheless, the next day they go to the address the police had provided. The house is empty of people, but photos and papers there confirm that the urn’s owners had lived there. A neighbor gave them another address elsewhere in Bulgaria.

Before they leave town, they adopt a stray dog, which becomes an important character with a major role in one of the concluding scenes. Kostova introduces other people, including an older, wealthy businessman-turned-politician named Kurilkov and known as “The Bear.” He is seeking to win the next election on the promise of “non-corruption.”

There are growing and inexplicable dangers: vandalized cars, threats, murder and kidnapping. Only if the urn contains some valuable secret can there be an explanation for this unsettling situation.

An explanation of the urn’s secret and its dangerous value becomes the spine on which Kostova builds the book’s surprising and violent resolution.

On that same spine she attaches another story, that of Stoyan Lazarov, a talented violinist, lover of Vivaldi, loving husband and father, who ran afoul of Bulgaria’s post-World War II brutal communist dictatorship. He was confined for many years in a torturous labor camp where work conditions and weather almost killed him and destroyed his health and his prospects for a fulfilling musical career.

At the work camp, he met two men, one a friend and fellow inmate, and the other a guard who becomes a heated enemy. Both characters play a major part in the book’s dramatic conclusion.

Why then did Kostova set this book in Bulgaria? Explaining her fascination for that nation, she writes about her first visit, when she first came to “this mysterious country, hidden for so long behind the Iron Curtain,” and she felt, “I had somehow come home.”

Kostova’s novel takes her readers on a tour of Bulgaria, its mountains, its cities and villages its forests and seashores. Her poetic descriptions of Bulgaria’s landscapes and people made this reader want to see for myself the country she loves so much.

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Spectrum-Time Warner #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

This week’s (April 23, 27) guests ware Richard Rosen and Joseph Mosnier, authors of “Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights.”

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

Sunday noon April 23 and Thursday 5pm April 27 Richard Rosen and Joseph Mosnier, authors of “Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights”

Sunday noon April 30 and Thursday 5pm May 4 Matthew Griffin, author of “Hide”

One on One: A North Carolina mountain woman’s adventure in Bulgaria appeared first on Chatham Journal Newspaper.

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One on One: Small towns, courts, and independent thinkers http://chathamjournal.com/2017/03/28/one-one-small-towns-courts-independent-thinkers/ Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:10:30 +0000 http://chathamjournal.com/?p=7455 by D.G. Martin Chapel Hill, NC – “I have to vote to break a tie on town council’s votes all the time,” the mayor of a small North Carolina mountain town told a friend. “When they deadlock it is a…

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by D.G. Martin

D.G. MartinChapel Hill, NC – “I have to vote to break a tie on town council’s votes all the time,” the mayor of a small North Carolina mountain town told a friend.

“When they deadlock it is a 3 to 3 vote, with the same people always voting together.”

When asked if it were a Democrat versus Republican situation, the mayor explained that political parties have nothing to do with it. “Three of them are Methodist, and the other three are Baptist. They just stick together no matter what the issue.”

What denominational preference might have to do with where to put a stoplight, how much to pay the police chief, where to extend water lines, what streets to pave, or the hundreds of small but important decisions his local government has to make, the mayor did not try to explain. Being a Methodist or a Baptist would not seem to matter much, but it did.

The loyalty of these town board members to their religious colleagues robs the town of the benefit of the individual and collective experience and wisdom that council members could apply to working out pragmatic approaches to the town’s non-sectarian municipal challenges.

Such local government decision-making should not be handicapped by religious doctrine and loyalties.

Similarly, a small-town government can often do better if its elected leaders face challenges and work together without regard to political party affiliations.

Of course, even in these days of ugly partisan division, both at the national and state level, our two-party political system plays an important and constructive role in government. It fosters accountability, provides leadership pathways for potential public officials and gives the possibility of regular changes in leadership.

But, imposing two-party partisan elections and divisions on small local governmental units can be counterproductive.

For instance, in making a decision about whether to run for local office, a moderate independent-minded pragmatist might be unwilling to align with either of the two major political parties to get on the ballot. While it is theoretically possible for a registered independent or unaffiliated voter to find a place on the ballot, the complicated petition requirements make it nearly impossible.

Almost 30 percent of North Carolina voters are registered as independents. Whatever their talents and potential contributions, they are effectively disqualified from serving in any office selected in partisan elections.

That is too bad for small local governments.

It is now even worse for North Carolina’s courts thanks to our General Assembly’s recent action that makes all judicial elections partisan.

Rationalizing their action, legislative leaders explained that voters were entitled to know the political affiliations of candidates for the judiciary.

True, the political registration of judicial candidates would always be a matter of public record and be reported to voters during an election.

Most judges say they put aside their politics when they put on their judicial robes. They say their decisions are guided by the law, not by their political party affiliations or platforms. Good judgment, wisdom, experience, and the law, not political party, should guide judges presiding over criminal cases, business disputes, divorce and custody issues, and the hundreds of other matters that make their way into our courts.

Supporters of the legislature’s actions remind us that politics has always played some role in judicial selection. They are correct. But this history does not make expanding the political role a good thing, at least not for those who would like to keep politics out of the courtroom.

If we want to encourage fair-minded, independent-thinking lawyers to consider seeking a judge’s position, why prevent good lawyers who are registered independents?

If you, like me, do not have an answer to this question, ask your legislator.

***********

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel  (Time Warner #1276) on Fridays at 8 p.m.

This Thursday’s (March 30) guest is Ralph Hardy, author of “Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog.”

 Next week’s (April 2, 6) guest is Renee Ahdieh, author of “The Rose & The Dagger.”

To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/episodes/

For upcoming programs: www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch

Sunday noon March 26 and Thursday 5pm March 30 Ralph Hardy, author of “Argos”

Sunday noon April 2 and Thursday 5pm April 6 Renee Ahdieh, author of “The Rose & The Dagger”

Sunday noon April 9 and Thursday 5pm April 13 Tim Tyson, author of “The Blood of Emmett Till”

Sunday noon April 16 and Thursday 5pm April 20 Nancy Peacock, author of  “The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson”

One on One: Small towns, courts, and independent thinkers appeared first on Chatham Journal Newspaper.

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