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Longworth at Large

July 10, 2017

“Want a Raise? Become a CEO or Coach”

There was a headline in last week’s newspapers that caught my attention. It read, “Middle Class Wage Crisis Worse in North Carolina.” The story, written by Associated Press correspondent Emery Dalesio, highlighted findings by NC State University economist Michael Walden, in which he concluded that the collapse of middle class jobs in this century was worse in North Carolina than in the rest of the country. According to professor Walden, middle class jobs rose by 6% nationwide between 2001 and 2015, but fell by 5% here in the State. Communities that have lost textile jobs in large numbers accounted for much of our decline, and Winston-Salem was particularly singled out as having suffered from depressed wages.

Dalesio also referenced findings by UNC’s Maureen Berner, who added that the decline in middle class jobs and wages led to a “double digit growth in the need for food distributed by non profit organizations.” Her conclusion didn’t come as a surprise to me. Clyde Fitzgerald, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, had warned of this trend on many occasions over the past few years when appearing on my Triad Today television program. He spoke of the high rate of childhood hunger in the Triad, and of the challenges in keeping food bank shelves filled, and financial donations flowing.

What makes all of this bad news especially hard to swallow is that while many North Carolina families are still struggling to make ends meet, the wages of wealthy people continue to rise at an obscene rate. In fact, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and Senator Bernie Sanders have been railing against income inequality for years, even before the recession of 2008. So, just how bad is the disparity? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1982, the average CEO pay was 42 times greater than that of his average worker, but by 2012, the Institute for Policy Studies estimated that the ratio had reached 364 to 1. And while I will never defend greedy corporations who over pay their CEOs to the detriment of their employees, at least those executives work in the private sector. Not so with another elite group of “one percenters”.

If you really want to get steamed about stagnant wages, then just take a moment to examine what today’s college coaches earn each year. For example, Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzysewski makes $9.6 million dollars per year, and Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is paid about the same. Alabama football coach Nick Saban earns over $7 million annually, while Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Louisville’s Rick Pitino take home around $6 million dollars each. But the pay rates and raises are also staggering for lesser known coaches in minor sports. According to a Washington Post story by Will Hobson from March of this year, the University of Virginia’s head Women’s volleyball coach has seen her pay increase from $94,000 to $221,000 over the past ten years. Meanwhile the salary of West Virginia University Men’s soccer coach rose from $66,000 to $188,000 per year, and Kentucky’s track and field coach went from earning $108,000 in 2006, to $429,000 last year. That’s a 298% pay raise! Not angry yet? Then consider that during that same period, the median pay for the average American worker rose by less than 1%.

The pay disparity at our nation’s colleges must also anger the men and women who have devoted their lives to providing academic instruction to students. According to the American Association of University Professors, the average salary of a full professor is $113,000 per year, while most instructors are lucky to be making half that amount. Even worse, their raises are few and far between, and when State legislators do approve a pay hike, it’s usually less than 5%. That’s a far cry from the coach who received a 298% pay raise.

So there you have it. Private sector CEOs make nearly 400 times the salary of the workers they haven’t yet laid off, while a growing number of college coaches earn anywhere from two times to 40 times more than the teachers who make it possible for those coaches to have a place to work. Pundits and politicians have suggested that higher taxes on the rich, and salary caps on coaches would make our lot in life easier. But the fact is, neither of those solutions would translate to more middle class jobs and higher wages for workers. That might only happen if President Trump makes good on one of his campaign promises: to incentivize companies who bring their factories and jobs back to America from overseas. Until then, those of us in the dwindling middle class can either make do with what we have, or else try and get hired as a CEO or college coach. Excuse me while I dust off my resume.

My Take

July 6, 2017

Kernersville Traffic: ‘Round and ‘Round We Go

When I was a kid the Reid family lived off NC 66, about three miles north of Horneytown. Our house was several miles from Kernersville, and we only came to town to buy hog meal from the FCX store (where Caudill’s is now) and to get haircuts. Roy Marine was my last town barber. He charged a dollar.
Every now and then on haircut and hog meal day, Dad and I would eat hot dogs at Charlie Snow’s. Back in those days the only traffic light in Kernersville was at Main and Mountain streets at Pinnix Drug store, across the street from the Bank of Kernersville. I’m not a history buff, but I do know that Kernersville was named after the Körners and Horneytown was named after the Horneys.
And that Horneytown didn’t have any stoplights, barbers, banks, hot dog joints, drug stores, or places to buy hog meal. It still doesn’t. About the only thing there is the Horneytown Fire Department, the butt of many jokes over the years.
Other things Horneytown doesn’t have are mattress stores, nail salons and roundabouts. Kernersville has cornered the market on those. Which begs me to ask the question: How can Kernersville support so many nail salons and mattress stores?
And the roundabouts are a whole ‘nother story. Kernersville has four. There are two out toward Colfax, one on Bodenhamer Street and one on Old Winston Road adjacent to the new Lowes Foods. That’s the one where a friend of mine saw a lady circling the other day; ‘round and ‘round she went, he recalls. He believes she may still be circling it.
I’ve noticed people coming to a complete stop at these roundabouts instead of just slowing down and yielding. As for the one on Bodenhamer, I’ve seen 18-wheelers drive right over it without even slowing down.
Some people call the “island” on Union Cross Road at I-40 a roundabout, but it’s not. It is known as a “diverging diamond interchange.” There are only five others in the State, and in much larger cities.
This thing is really confusing. If you’re not careful, you can end up heading to Greensboro or Winston-Salem (“Honey, we ain’t on Union Cross Road anymore”) or to jail (if you drive right through the middle of it).
Anyhow, traffic around Kernersville has become a nightmare. Maybe that’s why so many mattress stores have sprung up here.

Raymond Reid can be contacted at rreid7@triad.rr.com

Longworth at Large

July 6, 2017

“Rockets’ Red Glare, Bombs Bursting in Air”

This week we celebrate our 241st anniversary of independence from Great Britain. A few weeks earlier, we celebrated Memorial Day, where we honored men and women who had made the ultimate sacrifice. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but over the years I have come to dread these holidays, and I can explain my disdain in one word: Fireworks.

Despite what we see in old movies, war is not glamorous. It is not glorious, and it is almost never necessary. And so there’s a morbid kind of irony about the fact that we honor those who died in war, by firing off a barrage of mortars and rockets.

In my neck of the woods, fireworks are shot off by neighbors in their back yards, and by so-called professionals who are hired by the city to punctuate community gatherings. During a previous Independence Day fete, the combination of private and municipal rocket fire caused the windows of our house to vibrate so severely that they nearly shattered. Moreover, the constant barrage of scud-like missile activity also caused our dogs to shake uncontrollably, and become so upset that they suffered with GI difficulties for two weeks. Meanwhile, the noise disrupted bed rest at area nursing homes and retirement complexes, and wildlife fled from their limited wooded habitats, and ran nervously into on-going traffic, where at least one deer met his doom. These are all too common scenarios across the country, and are of particular interest to Chapel Hill-based Noise Free America.

NFA acts as a clearinghouse for noise complaints, and as an advocate for a ban on fireworks altogether. In a 2014 email exchange with NFA Director Ted Rueter, I learned that noise wasn’t the only problem resulting from our annual Independence Day fireworks displays. Serious injuries and deaths also occur. Those included three small children, and an infant who died in a Philadelphia house fire, which had started when a firecracker was thrown onto a sofa on their front porch. The fire also spread to several other row houses. And then there was the man from Michigan who lit some fireworks which then flew back into his chest, killing him. Ted also mentioned another man who blew his arm off while using fireworks. Meanwhile, KIRO-TV in Seattle reported that in just a few short hours, one local hospital treated 35 people with fireworks-related injuries. Said Rueter, “This past 4th of July turned out to be a deadly and very disruptive holiday”.

Unfortunately, fireworks related tragedies are not a recent phenomena. The National Fire Protection Association reports that
in 2011, nearly 18,000 fires were caused by fireworks. Those included 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,000 other fires. That year, fireworks caused over $32 million dollars in property damage, and at least eight people died. Not surprisingly, more fires are reported on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for two out of every five of those fires.

According to the Insurance Journal, in 2016, hospital emergency departments treated nearly 11,000 people for fireworks related injuries, including 31% who were children under the age of 15.
Meanwhile the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there have been 114 deaths related to fireworks since 2001.

And, as if we didn’t have enough to worry about, now there’s a new kind of danger involving fireworks. Forbes and other news outlets report a rise in people flying their drones in the airspace just above fireworks displays. When rockets collide with drones, the latter can cause the former to detonate off target, and can force hazardous debris down onto unsuspecting spectators.

In addition to producing noise and causing fires and injuries, fireworks are also increasingly causing environmental damage. Studies by the EPA show that chemical residue from fireworks is polluting lakes, ponds, and even contaminating ground water. That, in turn, negatively impacts on the health of humans and wildlife alike.

Some states have enacted laws which restrict use and composition of fireworks. In California, for example, fireworks devices cannot leave the ground. In North Carolina, aerial fireworks are illegal except by permit. Meanwhile, seven other States have banned all consumer fireworks. But those bans don’t go far enough, because they do nothing to restrict commercial use of fireworks. Yes, I’ve heard the argument that “professionals” know how to handle fireworks, and most of them do. But that’s not the point.

According to Science Daily, the South Coast Air Quality Management agency solicited testimony which showed that chemicals from nightly fireworks displays at Disneyland, had polluted underground water to the extent that six local wells adjacent to the park had to be shut down, and residents forced to drink bottled water. Science Daily also reported that children with asthma had more frequent attacks because of smoke generated from Disney’s fireworks displays.

I doubt anyone is more competent with recreational explosives than the pyrotechnic wizards who set off fireworks at Disneyland, Disney World, and other parks across the nation. But that doesn’t rectify or prevent noise, air, and water pollution. That’s why commercial as well as consumer fireworks displays should be banned in every state, with the caveat that localities can issue special permits for venues that aren’t near a residential area, don’t border on a body of water, and where technicians use non hazardous materials.

Surely we don’t need to be bombarded fireworks when pausing to recognize our freedoms or our veterans. A simple parade, display of American flags, a brass band, and some small sparklers are more than adequate to present a safer, quieter commemoration.

Longworth at Large

June 27, 2017

“GOP’s ‘Better Care’, Isn’t”

We all know that there’s a lot of hype in advertising, but most ads contain at least some modicum of truth. For example, a car that’s advertised as getting better gas mileage, usually does. A pain reliever that’s advertised as having extra strength, usually has it. And, toilet paper that’s advertised as being new and improved, usually is. So, last week when Senate Republicans finally released their secretive healthcare reform package, and advertised it as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act”, I assumed that it would offer “better care” than either Obama’s ACA, or Paul Ryan’s AHCA. As it turns out, though, the name “Better Care Act”, really just means it’s “Better than Nothing.”

After listening to Senator Mitch McConnell announce highlights of the BCRA, I went online and read through the 142 page bill, only to find that it is just as bad as the House version. The first indication of that was on page five, in a section titled, “Applicable Median Cost Benchmark Plan.” Section (B)ii provides for a health plan that, “has a premium which is the median premium of all qualified health plans…which are offered in the individual market.” The problem is that BCRA doesn’t impose caps on premiums, deductibles, or co-pays, nor does it enact a federal requirement for insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. Thus, that particular section seems moot because a median premium could end up being the median of unaffordable plans to begin with.

Perhaps the most cruel provision of BCRA, though, is tucked away on page 134. Section 204 covers “Change in Permissible Age Variation in Health Insurance Premium Rates”, and maintains the same “Age Tax” imposed by Ryan’s plan. Specifically, BCRA allows insurance companies to charge older persons (ages 50 to 64) five times the monthly premium as a younger person. That means a 49 year old man who pays $500 per month in premiums, might pay $2,500 per month one year later, even if there’s no change in his health. In a statement released on June 22, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said, “The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them. AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else, while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable.”

Ms. LeaMond also criticized the Republican led Senate for proffering a bill that, “cuts Medicaid funding that would strip health coverage from millions of low-income and vulnerable Americans who depend on the coverage, including 17 million poor seniors, and children and adults with disabilities…the Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare, which weakens the programs ability to pay benefits, and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers.”

Former President Obama is also critical of the BCRA, writing on Facebook that, “…it’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.” Obama continued, “Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs…and millions of families could lose coverage entirely.”

As of this writing, not a single Senate Democrat plans to vote for BCRA, which means McConnell can only afford to lose the support of two fellow Republicans. But already, at least four GOP Senators have indicated they won’t vote for the plan. If those numbers hold, then the American people will be stuck with a failing Obamacare system from which insurance companies continue to flee. Under that scenario, it is possible that Congress would eventually have to consider the one healthcare reform they fear the most: Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan.

Sanders proposed his plan during the 2016 campaign, and engaged reputable economists to devise a way to pay for it without over taxing the average American. Critics on both the left and the right say Bernie’s plan amounts to socialized medicine. But I don’t hear any of those folks complaining about taxpayer supported schools, police, or military. If we have a right to free police protection, we should also have a right to free medical care. We shouldn’t have to live under the threat of bankruptcy in the event of a catastrophic illness, or become seriously ill because we can’t afford the medical care that we need.

Insurance companies pump millions of dollars into lobbying and campaign contributions each year. Eliminate them and you’ll eliminate the reason that many legislators are afraid of voting for substantive healthcare reform. In the meantime, we’re stuck with trying to replace one flawed healthcare system with another. Take my word for it, unlike toilet paper, there’s nothing new and improved about BCRA. I am, however, tempted to use one for getting rid of the other.

Kernersville News Editorial

June 22, 2017

“Unjustified seizure of newspaper assets”
A recent bill being debated in the North Carolina General Assembly is rightfully causing some buyer’s remorse for numerous voters that helped give the Republicans the majority in the state House and Senate. Support for this bill from some Forsyth County representatives should also cause local citizens to question the motives of some our elected officials.

The bill in question, Senate Bill 343 (SB 343), essentially goes against one of the major tenets of the Republican party. Senate Bill 343 was sponsored by N.C. Senator Trudy Wade (R-Guilford), who apparently has a huge axe to grind with newspapers. The bill, which passed in the Senate by a 30-19 vote last month, would allow municipal and county governments to publish required public notices on their own websites instead of in newspapers. Some of these public notices include details about public hearings for new developments and opportunities for people to bid on government contracts. The bill would, more importantly for newspapers, allow local governments to host other people’s legal notices on their websites and charge attorneys and others for legally required announcements, such as foreclosures, seized property and other proceedings.

This aspect of the bill would effectively steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from individual newspapers, which would seriously jeopardize the very existence of three local newspapers, Kernersville News, Clemmons Courier and Winston-Salem Chronicle. Large papers such as the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News & Record, which are owned by a liberal multi-billionaire could probably weather this storm, but smaller papers likely cannot.

The bill, which has been questioned constitutionally by some qualified experts, would make Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth and Guilford counties the pilot programs. Given Wade’s fanatical support of the bill it is easy to understand why Guilford County was chosen to be part of the pilot program. Why Forsyth County was chosen is open to question, although we have our own ideas of which government official or officials may have pushed for Forsyth County to be one of the four counties in the pilot program.

The motivation for supporters of this bill, which unfortunately includes a large number of Republicans in the NCGA, appears to be to steal money from newspapers and eliminate the numerous decades old practice of allowing newspapers to keep the public aware of the information published in legal notices and public notices.

The argument, which doesn’t hold water, from some supporters of this bill is that it will save the counties money. The fact that the money saved would be an absolute drop in a very big bucket, compared to county budgets and the state budget, makes it clear that the primary motivation for the bill is not to save North Carolinians money. Forsyth County’s budget for the fiscal year is $425, 405,900. The state budget that was passed by the NC Senate on Tuesday is $23.03 billion. When the previous version of Senate Bill 343 was discussed three years ago, former Forsyth County Commissioner Mark Baker said the money the county would save if the bill was passed was too inconsequential compared to the whole budget to even consider.

We believe the real motivation for those who support SB 343 is to destroy newspapers, and some representatives have told us this directly. A secondary motivation could be that the bill would also allow state and local governments to keep what they are doing more secret, which goes against the very grain of everything American.

As noted by the North Carolina Press Association, “As many of one-third of North Carolinians don’t have internet access, can’t afford it, and would not visit a government website even if they had it.” Tammy Dunn, the publisher of the Montgomery Herald, stated that “it is somewhat ludicrous to suggest that people would check a government website each week to look at notices.” Others have also noted why it is crucial and traditional for legal and public notices to be published in newspapers, rather than in sparsely visited government websites. Moreover, most North Carolina newspapers, including the Kernersville News, publish all legal notices online at no extra charge.

“The spirit of the law is for government notices to be in front of the public. Even though it is a revenue source for newspaper, the issue here isn’t that. The issue is the public’s right to know,” stated Paul Mauney, the group publisher for The Dispatch, The Times News in Burlington and The Courier-Tribune in Asheboro.

We have talked to numerous local government officials about where they stand on SB 343, and believe it is important for our readers to know where they stand on the public’s right to know. Forsyth County Commissioner Chairman Dave Plyler does not support the bill, as does Forsyth County Commissioner Vice Chairman Dr. Don Martin.

“I am certainly not in favor of having Forsyth County in a pilot program and having the county become a legal advertising service,” Martin said.

Forsyth County Commissioner Ted Kaplan is against the bill. We were very happy to learn on Thursday that NC Representative Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth) is working with her counterpart North Carolina Representative Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) to defeat SB343. Forsyth County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt seemed adamant that there was a lot of momentum for the bill in the NCGA. NC Representative Paul A Lowe Jr. (D-Forsyth) voted against the bill. NC Rep Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth, Yadkin), who lives in Kernersville, is vehemently against the bill

“I opposed it and voted against it (before). Particularly seniors depend upon their daily newspapers. I believe large segments of our population will not be able to obtain the necessary information. Many rural areas as well as seniors and others in urban areas, do not have access to the internet. They will have no means of obtaining information,” Krawiec stated.

We urge our readers to contact their NCGA representatives and Forsyth County commissioners to discuss the NCGA’s obvious attempt to destroy newspapers and seize their substantial financial assets. Listed below is contact information for your local government representatives. Please call them.

Longworth at Large

June 22, 2017

“Congressional Shooting: Lessons Not Learned”
By now we all know the story about a friendly gathering of politicians that turned violent. Suddenly, without warning, shots rang out, and a member of Congress lay wounded on the ground. Days later, elected officials boasted about a new spirit of bi-partisan unity that would grow out of the attack. This wasn’t last week in Alexandria, Virginia. It was six years ago in Tuscon, Arizona.
On that day, Representative Gabby Giffords was gunned down while attending a constituents meeting in a shopping center parking lot. The shooter also killed a federal judge and wounded several other people who were in attendance. Ms. Giffords, a pro-gun control Democrat, survived the assassination attempt, and her high-profile rehabilitation was expected to inspire bi-partisan cooperation on Capitol Hill, especially when it came time to vote on gun reform. But Congress has an historically short attention span, and an even shorter memory. Even though one of their own was nearly murdered by a nut with a gun, not a single piece of legislation was passed to curtail the sale or use of guns.
It has been a week since Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and his Republican colleagues were attacked while practicing for their annual Congressional baseball game. Scalise is still in critical condition, and several others are still recovering from their wounds. The baseball game went off as scheduled, and it turned into a love fest between the two political parties. A commentator for FOX News noted that, “Republicans and Democrats are coming together to wear LSU caps in honor of Scalise.” And, though Dems won the contest, they awarded the trophy to the GOP so it could go on display in Scalise’s office. What wonderful gestures! But if 2011 is any indication, those gestures will prove to be hollow. Soon, things will be back to normal, and the two Parties will battle each other to a standstill over healthcare, taxes, immigration, and Russia. And, oh yes, don’t look for any substantive gun reform legislation either. Sadly, that’s just the way things are in Washington. Old habits die hard. Gun victims die much easier. The fact is that D.C. politicians are better at pointing fingers than they are at solving problems. Perhaps we all are.
Anytime there’s a mass shooting, folks from all walks of life are quick to blame other folks from all walks of life. First and foremost, of course, the shooter is to blame for pulling the trigger, but the media loves to analyze what motivates such killers. In the case of last week’s baseball field incident, the perpetrator, James Hodgkinson, was a liberal extremist and Bernie Sanders supporter who hated Donald Trump, and wanted to assassinate Republicans. So naturally, the news media sought out Senator Sanders for an official statement, as if he was somehow responsible for Hodgkinson’s behavior. They did much the same thing in 2011.
Just prior to the Tuscon shooting, Republican darling Sarah Palin urged her followers to “target” Democrats, especially Rep. Giffords. Palin’s website even featured the image of a rifle scope with crosshairs. Immediately following the attack on Giffords, Democrats and the media blamed Palin for inciting violence. Even today, Palin is still having to defend those political ads, and deny that there was any intent to harm Giffords.
Though they are polar opposites, politicians like Sanders and Palin strike a nerve with their followers. The question is, can political rhetoric cause or lead to violence? GOP Congressman Mark Sanford believes so. Last week in an interview with MSNBC, he reminded viewers that during the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump once told a rally that he’d like to punch a protestor in the nose, and would pay the legal bills of anyone who did so. The suggestion is that Trump’s bluster eventually led Mr. Hodgkinson to spray fifty bullets at defenseless Republican Congressmen. But vitriol hasn’t been the sole property of conservatives like Donald Trump. Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters once referred to Republicans as “scumbags”, while other members of her Party call for impeachment on a daily basis, suggesting that Trump and his Cabinet are corrupt traitors.
Speaking of liberals, Democrat-leaning entertainers are also being blamed for last week’s violence. Comedian Kathy Griffin recently held up a fake severed head of Trump, covered in blood. Madonna told thousands of women that she had thought about “blowing up the White House.” Snoop Dog produced a music video in which he pretends to shoot a Trump look-a-like. And just last week in New York City, a theatre production of Julius Caesar portrayed the famed emperor as Donald Trump, so that the brutal assassination scene would send some kind of sick message to the audience.
Following the Giffords incident in Arizona, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik spoke with the New York Times about the political climate in America, as a factor in politically motivated shootings. Said Dupnik, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government…The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.” Perhaps Sheriff Dupnik didn’t realize how prophetic his words were. What should be peaceful town hall meetings have turned into shouting matches and worse. It’s gotten so bad that a number of Congressmen have stopped holding town halls altogether. Meanwhile, a growing number of other members now refuse to wear their Congressional lapel pin for fear of being targeted, and Rep. Chris Collins said he’s going to start carrying a gun. The fact is that we’re all partially to blame for the divisions in our country, and that’s why we need to choose our words more carefully. We also need to elect real leaders who will stop fighting among themselves, and start fighting for changes that will improve quality of life for all Americans.
Six years ago, the only concession Congress made in honor of Gabby Giffords was agreeing for both Parties to sit together at the 2011 State of the Union Address. Six years later, Congress has agreed for a baseball trophy to sit on Steve Scalise’s desk. Here’s hoping they agree to set an example of civility, tone down the rhetoric, and work together to pass meaningful legislation. It’s time for Congress to really play ball with each other.
Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which airs Saturdays at 7:30am on abc45 (cable 7) and Sundays at 11am on MY48 (cable ch. 15) www.triadtoday.com.

Our Town

June 22, 2017

“Vegetables and More at the Kernersville Farmers’ Market”
Every Saturday and Wednesday morning, and on Wednesday evenings, local farmers bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the Kernersville Farmers Market, located in downtown Kernersville.
In addition to fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, leaf lettuce, and squash, there are other local offerings at the Farmers Market. Delicious cakes and desserts, by Mama Dee, offer a wide range of treats, from chocolate pound cake, to coconut pie and bread pudding. Locally made handcrafted soaps with scents and ingredients as varied as lemongrass, almond oatmeal, and morning mint are available from Lily Leaf soaps. Local honey, breads, and organically grown vegetables are among the offerings at the Kernersville Farmers Market.
Hot-house tomatoes are currently available, but soon locally grown tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, and other favorites will be available, in accordance with their harvest dates.
New this year, and available on the 3rd Saturday of each summer month, is a special arts and crafts market. The KidsCreate craft market held its first market day this past Saturday, and featured several young vendors with products as varied as windchimes, bracelets, and fidget spinners. The founder of the KidsCreate market is Avary, and the guiding slogan is “Thinking outside the crayon box.” Children with an entrepreneurial spirit are invited to become KidsCreate vendors, and can find out more about the details on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/kidscreatemarket or by email to kidscreatemarket@gmail.com. To participate, interested children need to fill out a vendor application, including listing the products to be offered, and pay a small booth rental fee. The Farmers Market is held every Saturday, and the next dates for KidsCreate market will be July 15 and August 19. The KidsCreate market has been made possible by the support of numerous local business sponsors and the Kernersville Rotary Club.
The Kernersville Farmers Market is located at 134 East Mountain Street, across the parking lot from Kernersville’s town hall, and near the library and Chamber of Commerce. More information about the Kernersville Farmers Market is available at www.kernersvillefarmersmarket.com. The website features photographs from the Farmers Market, and highlights the wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables that have been available during past seasons. For those interested in becoming vendors, there is vendor information and contact information. For shoppers, the website has hours of operation, a map, and information about the farmers that are participating in the market this growing season.
So as summer begins, take some time to stop by the Kernersville Farmers Market. Shop for fresh, locally grown foods, local breads and baked goods, and enjoy arts and crafts made by Kernersville youth. There is something for everyone at the Kernersville Farmers’ Market.
Dawn Morgan is the Mayor of Kernersville and writes a weekly column for the News.

My Take

June 22, 2017

“My Wife, Apple, and Her Virtual Dog”
Way back before smart phones and Siri, only an operator could help you make a long distance phone call. You dialed zero and actually talked to a live human being. In Mayberry, her name was Sarah.
There were no Apples, except the kind you ate. Same goes for Blackberries. Our dial phone was made by Western Electric. And, like T-Model Fords, they came in any color you’d like, as long as they were black.
Nothing ever went wrong with them, either. So, there was no such thing as the “Western Electric Store.” But a lot of things can go wrong with Apple iPhones. And do. Hence the need for the Apple Store, where people from eight to 80 go to await their turn for a seat at The Genius Bar. The eight-year-olds get it. But some 80-year-olds don’t know their IOS from a hole in the ground.
My wife and I were in the Apple Store the other day because her dog wasn’t barking. Not a real dog mind you, but her virtual dog; the one that barks to signal she has a voice mail message. I told her if she would answer her phone to start with, she wouldn’t have to worry about voice mails.
My comment went over like a lead balloon. With my virtual tail between my legs, I waddled off to my virtual doghouse. Later, over food and water (and wine), I apologized. I started to tell her that her dog might be barking up the wrong tree, but didn’t want to push my luck.
I’m glad we didn’t have smart phones and virtual dogs when I was growing up. Or computers. Or iPads. Or video games. Face time then was not chatting with someone on an iPhone. It was talking face to face – in person.
When my parents took us out to dinner (which wasn’t very often) our focus was on each other; not on our Facebook “friends.” Not having social media gave us time to develop social skills.
I do wish we’d had a garage back then, though. Why? Because great things such as Apple, Amazon, and Google were invented in garages. But all we had was a carport. And nothing great was ever invented in a carport.
That’s my excuse. And I’m sticking to it.
Raymond Reid can be contacted at rreid7@triad.rr.com

Our Town

June 22, 2017

“Summer Fun in Kernersville”
With the hot days of summer upon us, it is a great time to enjoy some of the cool summer activities available in Kernersville.
This Friday, June 16th, at Harmon Park is the very popular Movie in the Park series organized by Kernersville Parks & Recreation Department. The movie this month is Sing. Movies begin at dusk. Bring a chair or blanket and arrive early to enjoy the activities and food truck vendors.
On Thursday night, June 15th is the opening night of the Disney classic, Tarzan, presented by the Kernersville Little Theatre. The performance will be at the James Fitzpatrick Auditorium at Kernersville Elementary School, at 512 West Mountain Street. Performances are scheduled for June 15, 16, 17, 23, 24 at 8 p.m. and June 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the door. Details are available on the KLT website, www.KLTheatre.com or by calling 336-993-6556.
Another great family activity is Miss Mary’s Parade, a patriotic celebration especially for young children, held in memory of Mary Mullinax, a former preschool teacher and beloved storyteller. The event is organized by the Kiwanis, and will be held this year on Saturday, July 1st at 9:30 a.m., at the town hall courtyard. Miss Mary’s Parade is a great opportunity for the youngest Kernersville residents to wear red, white, and blue, learn some history, and march in a special children’s parade at town hall. Children can sing a patriotic song, wave a flag, and have a great time while parents and grandparents take adorable pictures. Patriotic decorations made by children are always welcomed at Miss Mary’s Parade!
On the Fourth of July, be sure to make plans to watch the annual Fourth of July Parade, which is organized by the Rotary Club and the spectacular Fourth of July Fireworks and Concert, organized jointly with the Town of Kernersville and the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce. The parade begins at 9 a.m. at Kernersville Elementary School and travels along Mountain Street. The Fourth of July Concert begins around 6:30 p.m. and will be held on the Raiders football field behind Kernersville Elementary School. Fireworks begin at dusk, around 9 p.m.
If jumping into a pool or getting showered by cold water at the water park is your favorite way of cooling off, then consider jumping in to experience the Kernersville Community Pool and Water Park at the Kernersville Family YMCA. While every day is fun at the water park, the Splash Before the Blast on July 4th will be especially enjoyable, and a great way to cool off. This event runs from noon to 2 p.m., and features swimming, giveaways, and free hotdogs.
What better for a summer cookout than to enjoy locally grown food? Just come to the Kernersville Farmers Market for a fresh tomato, green beans, and other locally grown produce like squash and zucchini. The Kernersville Farmers Market is located at town hall behind the library and the Chamber of Commerce. Honey, jelly, baked goods and fresh cut flowers are also available at the market. The Kernersville Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays in the morning and evening, and Saturday mornings, now through October.
Throughout the summer, there are many great ways to have a really cool time in our town.
Dawn Morgan is the Mayor of Kernersville and writes a weekly column for the News.

Longworth at Large

June 22, 2017

“Burr’s Lame Duck Leadership”
If you stick around in Washington long enough, you build up seniority and get to chair committees, providing that your political Party is in power. That’s what has happened to Senator Richard Burr. Burr was first elected to Congress from the 5th District in 1995, then moved to the upper chamber in 2005. For most of that time he has remained largely invisible to his constituents and to the main stream media, but all that changed recently when he began to preside over a series of hearings conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Thanks to Comey, Flynn, and the Russians, Richard Burr is now one of the most visible politicians in the nation. TV news anchors, pundits, newspaper editors, and even leading Democrats are now heaping praise on Burr for his fair-minded handling of these high profile soap operas. And so, the senior Senator from North Carolina has suddenly become America’s poster boy for bi-partisanship. The problem is that his new found fans have a short memory.
Burr has consistently voted in lockstep with his fellow Republicans on every major issue. In doing so, he has received a fortune in donations from industries whose products and services have brought hardship to millions. He has voted against tax cuts for the middle class while supporting tax cuts for his industry donors. He opposed employment opportunities for veterans, supported the privatization of Medicare, and has voted to confirm every Trump Cabinet nominee. And, he has enriched himself while those he serves have seen their incomes drop or remain stagnant.
In addition to chairing the Intelligence Committee, Burr also sits on several other powerful committees, including one which has oversight of the FDA, Medicare, and Medicaid. But instead of using his position to help people, he has voted with the interests of the industries he should be helping to regulate. Reporting for STATnews.com, Sheila Kaplan points out that some 200 companies located near Burr’s hometown, are in the business of developing or manufacturing drugs and medical devices. It should come as no surprise, then, that these companies gave Richard over a million dollars for his last re-election campaign. In return, Kaplan says that Burr has pressed for lower taxes on Big Pharma. Meanwhile, Richard has also received big bucks from the insurance industry, and in return, has opposed ACA, voted to privatize Medicare, and refused to come down on Blue Cross for price gouging. As a result of his partisan votes and positions on these matters, millions of people can’t afford the costly drugs they need, won’t seek proper medical attention, and can’t pay their rising healthcare premiums.
Speaking of partisanship that harms people, Burr has refused to support even the most basic, common sense gun reforms. Rob Schofield of The Progressive Pulse, reported that in 2016, Burr voted against a bill that would have required universal background checks, and limit sales of guns to known terrorists. Why? According to Becky Ceartas, director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, Burr’s votes were a quid pro quo for the $800 thousand dollars he received from the NRA. Said Ceartas, “Burr chose not to put safety of our families first, pushing that aside to demonstrate (his) loyalty to the gun lobby.”
Back in 2003, partisan Burr supported President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and once he knew that we had invaded the wrong country, did nothing to advocate for withdrawal. The result was the death of over a million innocent Iraqi civilians and thousands of American troops. To add insult to injury, the veterans who returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan faced an unemployment level of nearly 11%, yet according to a report by Jon Erickson of WCTI-TV, Burr voted against a bill that would have created a job corps meant to employ veterans as firefighters and police officers.
And if all that isn’t partisan and self-serving enough for you, consider Burr’s vote on a bill called the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act, better known as the STOCK ACT. The bill would have prohibited members of Congress from trading on and profiting from insider knowledge of the stock market. Sean Galitz of CBS.com reported that the STOCK ACT was the result of a “60 Minutes” investigation which “exposed how members of Congress and staff legally traded stocks based on nonpublic information that they had exclusive access to.” Richard Burr voted against the bill. Why? Galitz suggests it was because Burr held stock in a number of companies who were “lobbying for several energy and regulatory bills that he co-sponsored”, and that those companies had donated nearly a half million dollars to Burr’s campaign. Burr’s vote was also suspicious because of his increase in wealth since coming to D.C. According to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Burr’s net worth in 1994 was $189,000. By 2014 it was over $2.6 million. That’s an increase in net worth of 500% during a period of time when, according to Ballotpedia.org, the average American household net worth increased by less than one percent.
All of this makes Burr’s recent fame as a bi-partisan leader just a bit hard to take, especially for anyone who has been negatively impacted by his numerous quid pro quo votes over the years. Yet Richard seems to be wearing his new found mantle well. In fact, he looks down right relaxed and statesmanlike with a gavel in his hand. The reason? Last year Burr announced that he would be leaving the Senate after his current term expires. No longer is he worried about raising money, trading on insider information, or answering to lobbyists and industries who have scratched his back. He’s made his millions and when he steps down, those of us whose interests he voted against, will pay him a full pension with benefits.
Believe it or not, I remember a time when elected officials of both parties acted like statesmen from their first day on the job, and never compromised their ethics or their votes for political or personal gain. They were individuals who arrived in D.C. with very little wealth and no agenda, and they left the same way. Richard Burr is finally coming into his own as a statesman, but it’s only because he’s a lame duck who’s already come into everything else.
Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which airs Saturdays at 7:30am on abc45 (cable 7) and Sundays at 11am on MY48 (cable ch. 15) www.triadtoday.com.