Until early in the past century, local governments were responsible for executing prisoners sentenced to death in North Carolina. In 1910, the state took over that responsibility, and in the state's first execution on March 18, 1910, Walter Morrison was put to death in the electric chair.
A few weeks ago, my wife, son and I – food-festival groupies -- dropped in on the Jewish Food Festival at the Levin Jewish Community Center on Cornwallis Road.
Sometimes it's difficult to live in a world that wants to be black and white, when in fact it's varying shades of gray.
When state lawmakers return next week from their unusual spring break, debate over the budget will take center stage as the House puts together its spending plan for the next two years.
In nearly three decades of writing a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government, I’ve always received reader response. Back in the day, I’d get an occasional phone call or personal letter, but most of the response came in the form of letters to the editor. The reader would typically praise a point I made, or criticize it. Only rarely would there be an emotional outburst or personal attack.
The biggest news for me this year?
Not ISIS, not Obamacare, not gay marriage, and not even the earth-shaking tragedy in Charleston.
This year's big news is that there are no more peaches at the Auman farm in West End near Pinehurst.
"This whole week," said President Barack Obama, "I've been reflecting on this idea of grace."
A milestone was set in January. For the first time, Americans spent more on eating out than on eating in. We spent $50.475 billion eating in restaurants and other food outlets that month, compared to the $50.466 billion we paid for food in grocery stores and supermarkets.
In 1824, in retirement 37 years after serving as the Constitutional Convention's prime mover, James Madison, 73, noted that the 1787 "language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders." He knew that the purport of the text would evolve "with the changeable meaning of the words composing it."
Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” With presidential vacancies in both the University of North Carolina and community college systems we may have reached such a fork. Further, there are persistent rumors that Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson will not seek re-election next year, so all three branches of our education system could be looking for top leadership. It’s an ideal time for serious examination of how we organize, fund and administer public education.
One of the joys of teaching is watching a student connect to a gift they did not know he or she had. In my 16 years as a teacher, I have seen this happen to people in their late teens and to people in their 80s. Some part of their soul opens up – a new space within them that they did not know was there, and they discover a new love for poetry, painting or (yes, this sometimes happens) theology. I have also watched as a person shuts off a part of their soul that they were just beginning to see. You can watch this happen on a person’s face, as they harden internally to refuse the possibility of knowing something new.
What will the new political year in Washington bring? According to some analysts, the new GOP congressional majorities tilt more toward “the establishment” and away from the Tea Party wing. According to others, however, the new majorities are the starter’s signal for a full-fledged campaign to “repeal” the Obama presidency and even impeach the President himself.
On May 26, during the presentation of my recommended 2015-16 Budget to the Board of County Commissioners, I explained the appropriations planned for Durham Public Schools. This included sharing historical data about Durham County’s fiscal investment in our district and compared to other major school systems in the state, along with comparative performance data.