Friday, February 27, 2009

Basnight interview tonight!

Can you believe it's 70 today and we could be in winter storm warning in 48 hours. Bizarre!

Anyway, this weekend's Political Connections (Fri 6pm, Sun 11am on News 14 Carolina) is a don't miss. I spend the entire half hour on an interview with Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight. He was very candid about a wide range of issues.

As a preview here's some quotes on a few topics...

Balancing the budget
"I believe the majority of us in the Senate and hopefully the House, as well, will see you can't cut your way out of this kind of condition."

On working with Gov. Bev Perdue
"She's very very smart. Is she good to work with? Probably not. She's difficult in that vain. She's very headstrong but she wants to do the right thing and she will demand that."

On potential cell phone ban while driving
"I would hope not. I would think you should be able to use your phone in the car when you're driving down the road."

On potential smoking ban in public places
"I don't know about taking away the independent right to make that choice."

He goes on to say his daughters who run his restaurant on the Outer Banks support the ban but he's not sure about it. That could be a problem for supporters of the ban!

This is just the tip of the iceberg so make sure to check it out tonight on News 14 Carolina.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New video entry

It's that time of the week! This week we visit the newsroom and give you a very fast look how our reporters put together stories.

By the way we have a VERY candid and VERY interesting interview with Sen. Marc Basnight on Political Connections Friday night. More on that tomorrow.

By the way did you know that next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in NC and it might snow Sunday into Monday..yuck!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prez Obama reaction before the speech!

So Ryan Teague Beckwith from Under the Dome posted on his twitter account how it was typical Washington that he's getting reaction from Politico about President Obama's speech before his address tonight.

I then noticed an email I got and further investigated my inbox to find I had several similar emails from elected officials. Indeed our Representative David Price and Rep. Brad Miller sent out emails with their response to Mr. Obama's address. I also got releases from other representatives around the country as well as GOP folks.

The emails all came into my inbox before 6:00pm yet President Obama's address isn't until 9pm. It is "typical DC" like Ryan put it but what does that say about it all?

I'm not quite sure yet. I'm still pondering it and would love your reaction. Is the President's speech that predictable? Then why is he using network time and commercial space in this economy if it's that predictable? Are these politicians taking the easy route knowing what he will say? How do we know it's not just a canned response without genuine opinions if it comes out before the actual speech?

Or, is this just a sign of the immediacy of the news on the internet and cable television that it's more important to have a response for the second the speech ends (or earlier) than to have an honest reaction to what he said and sometimes just as important, how he said it.

I'm not judging anyone here, I'm just raising questions and looking for you feedback!

Have a great night and let me know your thoughts on the president's address here or at

An interesting update on the posting above. First, I mistakenly added Sen. Hagan to the list which I quickly corrected. Rep. Miller's office emailed me tonight to point out that Rep. Miller's earlier statement about President Obama's speech was not a prediction of his speech. His staff was briefed earlier in the day by White House officials and they wanted to make sure to get a statement out to journalists who were on deadlines. As a journalist, I completely understand that and I pointed out to Rep. Miller's staffer I wasn't saying the early statements were a bad thing it was just an observation. It's not uncommon for journalists to get embargoed versions of speeches and statements to help them prepare their stories ahead of time to meet deadlines. My goal for all of this is to give you a little perspective on how the news is made! I did not intend for my blog to mean these lawmakers were making predictions about future speeches, I was just trying to show you the viewer/reader a little bit about how the process works.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Is it surprising to anyone that it feels like the winter is dragging on and on and on? We are having a horrible economic winter of sorts that is dragging as well.

I'm sitting here on the anchor desk and my toes are cold and I constantly feel the chills. I'm not getting sick. It's just clear my blood prefers not to move in these plunging temperatures much like my 401k. I checked it for the first time today in months (my 401k not my blood). It has the same amount in it today that it had one year ago today and I never stopped adding money to it. The worst part is that I'm actually putting in more each paycheck than I did a year ago.

I know, I know. I'm fairly young and I'll come out way ahead. But will I? Everyone keeps saying we've never seen anything like this. So, how can you/they tell me I will come out ahead? It's these nagging questions that make even the employed nervous on a daily basis no matter what age you are. You/I feel grateful to leave for the day and know there's a tomorrow in the office.

So, what are the answers? Perhaps the scariest part about all this? There are no clear cut answers. I feel like it's gut check time and we just have to trust our guts. I'm not a financial expert or an economist, but in a lot of ways I feel like our guts are about as accurate.

I have a great job, my wife is pregnant with our first child, we'll celebrate two years married in May, we have a house, it's being heated (thanks to the long winter again), and we have food on the table. It's the best of times and the worst of times. Why? Because that stability that once was the bedrock of the American way can vanish in a blink of an eye in these uncertain times.

I'm thankful for tonight and for what appears to be a great tomorrow. Let's hope all of our tomorrows lead to weeks, months, and years to come!

Friday, February 20, 2009

New video

Hey all...

First, check out Political Connections on News 14 Carolina tonight at 6pm and Sunday 11am. Our guests this week are Sen. Burr and Sen. Hagan and we talk about stimulus package.

Next week I have a long sit down with Sen. Basnight and it is interesting to say the least.

Also, here's my video entry for the week. It's a tour of the studio and control room here at News 14 Carolina.

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Okay Senator Hagan (D) and Senator Burr (R) will probably never be best friends forever but it appears they do get along well despite their different party affiliations.

Today, I interviewed both of them in our studios for this week's Political Connections and a story that is airing tonight.

They were scheduled a half hour apart but one was late and the other was early so they basically were here at the same time.

Anyway, when Sen. Hagan was sworn in Sen. Burr made sure to make her feel welcome. It appears they get along well, so I simply asked if they really do or if it's an act for the cameras. Here's the cliff notes to what they said in separate interviews.

-She looks forward to working with him
-They have good chats on numerous occasions
-They are often on the same flight from Washington DC to Greensboro and they get a chance to chat.
-On the day she was sworn in Sen. Burr had a flag flow on her behalf in DC. It was evident that she was genuinely appreciative.

-They may look at pieces of legislation differently but he believes they look at the impact on on North Carolina the same.
-On initiatives with a big impact on North Carolina, he says they will come together in a very quick fashion.
-He called her a skilled legislator with experience and commitment to North Carolina and that's an advantage for him as well in trying to get beneficial legislation passed for the state.

Will all this harmony play out on the Senate floor? That remains to be seen. As my interview finished with Sen. Hagan the two of them passed each other and even hugged! They genuinely seem to respect each other. It will be interesting to see if that can translate into a productive working relationship with their political difference.

By the way both interviews will air in their entirety this week on Political Connections (Friday 6pm, Sunday 11am) only on News 14 Carolina.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents and North Carolina

In honor of President's Day here is a little information about North Carolina's connection to the White House.

17th President
Became President after Abraham Lincoln was assasinated.
Although born in Raleigh, NC, Andrew Johnson called Greeneville, TN home for his entire adult life. He is buried in Greeneville as well.
Historians often rank him as one of the worst U.S. presidents and the first president ever impeached.

This pic is a replica of his birthplace and childhood home in Raleigh. The pic comes from his presidential library in TN.

7th U.S. President
Born in Waxhaws which is the border of North and South Carolina
His parents lived in North Carolina, but historians debate whether or not he was born in North or South Carolina.
From the state library--
"After the war Jackson taught school briefly, but he didn't like it and decided to practice law instead. In 1784, when he was seventeen, he went to Salisbury, North Carolina where he studied law for several years. He was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in September 1787 and the following spring began his public career with an appointment as prosecuting officer for the Superior Court in Nashville, Tennessee, which at that time was a part of the Western District of North Carolina."

Jackson was also lured to Tennessee and started his political career. He also retired there like Johnson.

For more on his career and NC connection look here.

11th president
Born in Pineville in Mecklenburg County
Graduated from UNC in 1818 (then only 80 students!)
But as with the others he started his career and lived most of his life in Tennessee.
He was also a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson.

Still looking into more stuff, so I'll post it if I find it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

First video entry


I told you I wanted to provide some behind the scenes here at News 14 Carolina. Today, we give you that promise in video form. On top of the daily text posts, each Friday I hope to upload a video blog entry as well. This week, we give you a behind the scenes tour of our Weather on the Ones Forecast Center. You will see the goofy, moronic side of me. It's embarrassing but I hope you like it!

Here's part 1

And here's part 2

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hoops heaven!

I'm a college basketball fanatic and I love rivalry games so tonight is the night! Thank goodness as long as I'm working we have a bunch tv's nearby!!

Nothing can match the intensity and excitement of these teams, coaches, and fans!

Make sure after the game to switch over to News 14 Carolina. Unlike everehr yone else, we WILL carry the news conferences for Coach Williams and Coach K. Plus, we'll hear from players and fans!

Watch the game but switch to News 14 Carolina!!

Tomorrow, I hope to add my first video here on the blog with a behind the scenes tour of the weather center. Until then enjoy the game!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New feature coming

Well, in the ever changing and evolving world of "new media" it is a must to try and reinvent yourself and evolve as well.

With that spirit I will attempt to start adding videos to the blog to give you a behind the scenes look here at News 14 Carolina.

It starts on Thursday when we shoot our first tour that aims to show you our Weather on the Ones Forecast Center and how Chief Meteorologist Gary Stephenson puts together his forecasts.

It's going to be very laid back, informative, and most importantly fun...I hope! We'll show you some of the secrets of tv and Gary will give some insight into what it takes to put together a forecast.

I hope to add a new video every single week so stay tuned!!!

By the way, if you have other features you'd like to see please let me know!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Perdue statement

Hey all..

Just wanted to pass this statement along from Perdue spokesperson Chrissy Pearson

"The Senate today faces an important vote for America, and North Carolina is poised to receive federal stimulus money that could make a significant difference in the economic climate in our state.

Clearly there are areas in the Senate compromise bill that trouble us, but as Governor Perdue told the House Democratic Caucus on Friday, we are grateful that this bill is moving forward. It is a critical step towards addressing North Carolina’s fiscal emergency. Therefore, despite some concerns, we urge both our senators to vote “yes” tonight and tomorrow.

Afterward, we will look forward to working with our Congressional delegation and the White House to secure the improvements needed that will make this bill work for North Carolina – and will put North Carolina back to work."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Political Connections this week

Hey all...

Hope you had a great week as always. Just a reminder that Political Connections airs on News 14 Carolina Friday night at 6pm and Sunday morning at 11am.

This week is a bit of a mix. The first segment we'll remember former Insurance Commissioner Jim Long who died this week. Then we'll wrap up a rough week on Jones Street as lawmakers get two bits of bad news about the state budget and state health plan gaps. Finally, Emerging Issues Forum Director (Gov. Jim Hunt's baby)Anita Brown-Graham joins us in studio to preview next week's forum focusing on infrastructure.

With the legislature in session, I try not to plan out my shows too much in advance, but what topic or who would you like to see as a guest??

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

sNOw luck at my house!

Well, I woke up at 1, 3, and 6:30am anxiously waiting to see the white stuff and instead saw the usual dead grass in my back yard! The dog was disappointed I think as well!

I keep hearing people rip on the meteorologists for "missing" the forecast. The truth is the snow system slid south. Forecasting is a science but it's not a perfect science by any means and it's science in motion that can be unpredictable.

I hope that makes sense because I'm not even sure myself that made sense! LOL!

Anywho, better get it wrong this way then 20 inches the other way right?

More later!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let it snow...again

It looks like the white stuff will make a return sooner than later. You know what that means! It's time to send in those photos to use here and on

Send em my way via the contact info on the left.

The Triangle will likely get 1-3 inches with more coming north and west.

Should be fun! Send me your funny stories and I'll share with everyone. How many people are in your office? How was your drive? Why does my dog act like such an idiot on the snow? You get the point!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Sad news to report

I'm back from vacation and planned a more light hearted post but then this news came in from Rex Hospital.

February 2, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. – Former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long died today at Rex Hospital where he had been hospitalized after suffering a serious stroke on Wednesday, January 21. Long, 68, was surrounded by his family during his final moments and throughout his treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit.

“It is with heavy hearts that our family witnessed Jim's passing today,” said Peg O’Connell, Long’s wife. "We will be forever thankful for the prayers and kind words the people of North Carolina offered to Jim and our family during this difficult time. Jim loved this great state and its gracious people. He was honored to serve them."

Long served as head of the North Carolina Department of Insurance for 24 years and retired last month. He held a state-wide elected office longer than anyone in North Carolina history with the exceptions of Secretary of State Thad Eure and Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham.

O'Connell urges North Carolina families to educate themselves about stroke and stroke prevention. "This is a terrible day for our family, yet I know Jim would want some good to come of this," said O'Connell. "There is nothing more precious than health and family."

Funeral arrangements for Long have not been finalized."

Statement from NC Department of Insurance
For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2009

On behalf of the entire N.C. Department of Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin issues the following statement:

“Our hearts are broken over the loss of our former leader and dear friend, Jim Long. For 24 years, we were fortunate enough to work by his side, sharing both personal and professional triumphs and disappointments, laughter and sorrow. He was a mentor and friend to all of us, and we will miss him more than words can express. As our family grieves, we will try to find comfort knowing that through our work we can honor Commissioner Long’s legacy of serving the people of our state that he so loved.

Our hearts and prayers for peace and strength are with Peg and the rest of Commissioner Long’s family.”

Statement from Attorney General Roy Cooper on Jim Long
"Jim Long was a fighter for consumers. He committed his life to serving the people of North Carolina and our state is a better place because of his service."
Former North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Jim Long passed away Monday at the age of 68. He served as the state's Insurance Commissioner for more than twenty years.

Raleigh: Gov. Perdue today ordered all North Carolina state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long who passed away Monday, February 2nd. Flags will be flown at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset the day of the service.

Statement from Gov. Perdue:

“Jim Long was a giant of a person, a tremendous public servant, and a close personal friend. He was serious when it came to helping the public and at the same time he had an infectious sense of humor and personality. His red tie was legendary and so was his commitment to North Carolina. North Carolina has lost a great leader.”

Lt. Gov Walter Dalton

“North Carolina has lost a dedicated public servant, a fine leader and a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Peg and his family during this difficult time. North Carolinians will never forget Commissioner Long’s 24 years of service at the Department of Insurance, his warm humor or his signature red ties, but most importantly they will never forget his love of the people.”

House Speaker Joe Hackney

“Commissioner Long was one of the most dedicated public servants in the history of our state and I am honored to have worked with him. During his years in office, he managed the difficult task of keeping our insurance rates among the lowest in the nation while also helping to keep our insurance industry one of the strongest. We also shared a connection to Alamance County, his home and my occasional workplace while I was an assistant district attorney. I will miss his humor and we will all miss his service.”