Category: In Box

November 28th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin


In a recent on-line message the Sun Journal published some criticism of the celebrity Nicholas Sparks (“Per our story about Nicholas Sparks, etc.”).

I don’t think it’s news to anyone that success is a hard thing to deal with. Andy Griffith, for instance, when in retirement and living in Manteo was notoriously rude to people  who had the misfortune to recognize him in a local store.

I’ve never met one, but  professional athletes as a group are, I’m told by people who have, a bit proud of themselves — to the point of being “rude and hellish” (to paraphrase the remarks made online about Sparks).

Speaking of athletes, and on a personal note, my brother, a prep school football standout, became a devoted Sparks reader. After my brother’s death, and wherever he is in the here-after, I believe he went straight to the library where he could read and sob over the latest Sparks’ romance.

As for myself I’ve read an essay in Southern Living which Sparks wrote about New Bern and I commend it to others. He’s a marvelous prose stylist. But, unlike my brother, I’ve never read one of his novels, but have watched films made from them, sometimes to my regret.

What I regret more is the Sun Journal’s practice of publishing letters without the name of the author.  Signatures are required on conventional letters to the editor — why not the same standard for online entries?

For all we know online anonymous entries could be written with someone having an agenda for or against those written about, especially when a lawsuit involves the subject of the letter.

John Phaup, New Bern

Posted in In Box

August 2nd, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Editor: Inspired by the limerick “Sally” in the film series “The Crown” — with apologies to the Brits. John Phaup, New Bern

Behold our Lord Donald the Rex

Who believes only what he can text

Tho plenty of navel to gaze

(And much to our on-line dismays)

He keeps his head up his glorious Apps.

Posted in In Box

August 1st, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Editor: I read a letter regarding New Bern’s utility department (Sun-Journal, June 15) with keen interest.

The letter reminded  me of those written by Billy Smith a few years ago.  Smith, an avid preservationist and lover of New Bern, felt the city’s  alder men and women’s ability to do anything right ranked below John Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs committee. 

May I offer a response to the points raised in the recent letter.  

The reward the city provides utility users who pay on time is negative — that is the shiny truck does NOT show up to shut off your meter — as it does for non-payment.  

But the idea of a positive reward, as mentioned, intrigues me. More in a moment.

If bills are not paid utilities are still shut off.  What was recently re-negotiated is the amount of deposit to have the power turned back on, how that deposit can be paid, and how long the city will hold that deposit before returning it.  

(May I suggest that the city pay interest on these held deposits, which amount to an interest-free loan to the city.) 

As the letter mentions, utility bills which remain unpaid and uncollectible are eventually written off.  But I seen to remembers (then-) Mayor (Lee) Bettis saying at one time that these written-off accounts in any one year amounted to less than 1 percent of total utility revenues, hardly a  heavy burden.  

And city utility rates — the amount paid per kilowatt-hour — are higher than those paid by customers of Duke Energy.  The city has long used utility revenues — in excess of costs — as a form of taxation to bolster general revenues.  

Perhaps achieving parity with Duke Energy should be the next goal of utility reform.  To achieve that goal I suggest the city develop its own field of solar panels, say in the unpopulated, sunny land between New Bern and Kinston.   

In our modern world living without power, as suggested in the June 15 letter, is hardly an option.  For those struggling financially from week to week, lower energy costs would be some small help.  

And if that power came from renewables all the better; and all the more likely, if rates did drop, that bills would be paid.  

That would be a positive reward for all of us.  

And it’s a pleasure to remember Billy Smith.

John Phaup, New Bern

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Posted in In Box, Utilities

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