News: Columnists

Apr. 26, 2014 @ 05:20 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Free military air show in May

About a year ago, some of you shared my disappointment and a tad bit of disgruntledness about the cancellation of the 2013 air show at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. At the time, the military was being prudent and waiting for Congress to stop being petulant before going ahead with an event for civilians. Well, that’s more or less resolved now and this year’s air show is back on – not at Seymour Johnson AFB, but the usual rotation it takes with Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

It’s a solid two and a half hour drive each way from the Triangle to see the air show. I think it’ll be worth it. I’m going. It’s free and will be held May 16-18 at MCAS Cherry Point. Did I mention it’s free? You can buy a seat if you want to park yourself and watch. Parking your car is free, though. The air is as free as the wild blue yonder.


Apr. 25, 2014 @ 12:42 PM

Platt: Teaching kids that kindness is cool

Brothers Matt and Zach Certner, as children, started an organization to provide activities for kids faced with autism and other challenges.

That was good. But it wasn’t good enough for them.

Parents complained that their special children, although grateful for the safe space and inclusive environment provided through the Certners’ program, didn’t get that same experience in school.


Apr. 20, 2014 @ 05:14 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan column: DHS Forever, with Lougee’s daughter

Bobby Lougee loved to socialize. Even when age made it harder to get around, Lougee kept it up because his old friends appreciated his efforts. He liked it, too, of course. Lougee, who died Memorial Day weekend 2013, was a World War II veteran, a Marine, a good friend to many, and a man who remembered a time in Durham when you could get six hot dogs for a quarter.


Apr. 13, 2014 @ 12:39 PM

Neil Offen: How to tax your brain

Final check before filing:

Begin by adding line 18 — number of people you run into whose names you can’t remember — to line 14, number of times you try to avoid saying their names during a conversation.
Add lines 23 through 35 and try doing it without a calculator if you start to get cocky.


Apr. 12, 2014 @ 10:36 PM

Dissatisfaction with Common Core State Standards crosses political lines

Strange bedfellows – two words that may come to mind when considering the growing opposition movement to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that is taking place not only in North Carolina, but also across the nation.


Apr. 12, 2014 @ 04:00 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Keeping the wave going

After I wrote about my son’s first day of kindergarten last fall, I heard from a reader about her own child’s first day of school. After her daughter got on the Durham school bus, the mom got in her car and followed the bus to school before returning home. It was a mom thing to do.

I love the sitcom “The Goldbergs” first, because it’s hilarious. I identify with being an ’80s kid, too. But the best part is the mom who goes lovingly overboard as her kids grow up.


Apr. 11, 2014 @ 02:48 PM

Separating fiction from reality

It’s probably for the best that I never plan to run for public office.
After all, I’ve pretended to be an affable talking bull with a penchant for smashing things on World of Warcraft.
I’ve portrayed a maniacal general, bent on declaring martial law on someone else’s sovereign planet.


Apr. 06, 2014 @ 04:20 PM

Out of my control

The other day, I turned on my television and there was nothing there. And I don’t mean that it was only showing the usual re-runs of “Survivor: The Golden Girls Edition.”


Apr. 05, 2014 @ 03:06 PM

Pansy Dodson shares life story with granddaughter

Do you remember Pansy Dodson? I wrote about her last year and the letters she and her sister send out monthly to about 200 friends, in a June 2013 story headlined “Verses of Comfort.”


Apr. 04, 2014 @ 05:13 PM

No more leaving things lying around

Back in the 1980s, I didn’t think twice about stashing my blue Jansport book bag under a bench outside the public library while I wandered around downtown Orlando.

Today, though, it’s a different world.


Mar. 29, 2014 @ 09:29 PM

Living it up Longleaf Pine style

There’s a new book out that Tar Heels will be talking about for awhile. “Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina” landed on our Books desk Friday. In true Southern fashion, I will soon go off on a tangent, telling stories on the side.

“Talkin’ Tar Heel” is published by UNC Press and written by Walt Wolfram, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English at UNC Chapel Hill, and Jeffrey Reaser, associate professor of English at N.C. State University. The book includes the findings of more than 20 years of research by the North Carolina Language and Life Project at N.C. State. Duke University wasn’t part of it because – insert Yankee joke here. But actually, Northern accents contribute as much to the sound of our voices here as Southern ones. As Wolfram and Reaser write in the first chapter: “The voices of North Carolinians reflect the diversity of its people.”


Mar. 23, 2014 @ 05:52 PM

Billion dollar bracket busted

There’s a very good chance now that I’m not going to win Warren Buffett’s $1 billion.

And I had such good plans for it — Twizzlers for everybody, lamb chops when they’re not buy-one, get-one free, change my oil every two months, not every three. Maybe buy hardbacks instead of paperbacks. Replace torn underwear, even if historically lucky, with new. Get the full bottle of wine, not the half, when we go out to dinner.


Mar. 22, 2014 @ 06:32 PM

VAUGHAN COLUMN: NCCU deserves the love

In the words of the awesome Pharrell Williams, music man extraordinaire: “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Let’s clap for N.C. Central University, or for those of us well familiar with Durham, just Central or NCCU.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

Too accustomed to staying connected

I’ve been plugged in, one way or another, ever since I was a kid – certainly as long as I remember.

Sitting in front of the TV, I watched “Sesame Street” and the Watergate hearings with equal interest, if not always equal comprehension.


Mar. 16, 2014 @ 07:16 PM

Neil Offen: Staying true to form

There is, of course, only one thing worse than actually filling out your tax forms. That’s finding all the stuff that will allow you to actually fill out all your tax forms.