Category: In Box

December 23rd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin


I am reading a prize-winning history by Philip Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: A History of Lynching of Black America (2002).  A Pulitzer-prize finalist, I don’t recommend the book to either the weak-of-heart or the weak-of-stomach.

Mr. Dray does not attempt a complete account of all lynchings in the United States, and North Carolina and New Bern, are, fortunately,  not mentioned often, but when they are, at least in three incidents, mistakes of either omission or commission are made.  New Bern is mentioned as follows:

In 1919 a lynching occurred of a man accused of murdering someone at the Roper Lumber Company, then on North Craven Street.  But the lynching did not subsequently occur in New Bern, as Dray relates.  The suspect was hustled to Onslow County for safekeeping where a mob, nevertheless, killed him in his cell by shooting.

Not mentioned is an incident occurring in 1905 and recounted in John Green’s A New Bern Album (1985.) A black man accused of attacking a woman in Clarks was taken to the Craven County Jail, then near the courthouse at the corner of Broad and Craven.

In the early morning hours a mob overcame the sheriff, took the victim to the old Neuse River bridge (then at the foot of Johnson Street) and hanged him from a bridge trestle (and shot him repeatedly).

A more egregious error in the narrative, at least in my opinion, is Mr. Dray’s telling readers Strom Thurmond was a  NC Senator.

Pardon me- Mr. Dray’s book may have earned a Pulitzer nomination, and I very much think it deserves it, but putting Thurmond in North Carolina also earns Dray’s proof-readers and editors, not to mention Dray himself, dunce awards.

Our senators have included some of the worst- let’s not add to the historical record one of South Carolina’s own.

John Phaup, New Bern

Posted in Commentary, Community issues, Crime, History, In Box, Opinion

March 13th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin


A sign above the drive-thru payment window of the New Bern Utilities Building states “Thank you for your business.”

While I paid my bill I was touched by the appreciation the city has for resident business but wonder why it’s necessary.  The city has a monopoly on the selling of electricity to New Bernians unless residents happen to be serviced by Duke Energy.  

The alternative to doing “business” with the city is to do without — or put up some form of alternative energy source, not a likely alternative for most residents.

Maybe the sign should read “Thank for not doing without — but it you don’t pay promptly we can help there, too.”

John Phaup, New Bern

Ed’s note: Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of New Bern Post … although in this case it does.

Posted in In Box

February 6th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Regarding the banner Sun-Journal headline (Feb. 4)- “Commissioner Changes Parties”, Craven County Commissioner Jason Jones said his change in party was prompted by recent legislation in New York to “allow abortion until birth.”

That’s not exactly what happened. 

As changes pertain to late-term abortion and, according to the Albany Times Herald Union, the New York legislature legalized abortion after 24 weeks in cases where it would protect a woman’s health or where a fetus is not viable.  State law previously only allowed abortion after 24 weeks if the woman’s life was in jeopardy.

The legislature also stripped illegal abortions from the state’s criminal code and placed it within the realm of public health law.  

As a long-time Democrat I deplore abortion and look for the day when it is, in the words of Hillary Clinton, “safe, legal and rare.”

But repealing Roe vs. Wade will not eliminate abortions — as much as single-issue politicians may want to believe.  

What it would do is force desperate women back into dark alleys where abortion by coat hanger becomes, once again, common. 

An alternative to such atrocity is easier access to birth control, preferable to abortion in any form.  But only enlightened politicians can make this happen.  Mr. Jones needs to decide if he wants to be such a leader.  

And as for staff writer Miles Layton’s gratuitous quote of Ronald Reagan “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party- it left me,” we might remember a paraphrase of Winston Churchill- “sometimes rats swim toward a sinking ship.”

John Phaup, New Bern


Editor’s note: New Bern Post accepts letters to the editor of all kinds. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of New Bern Post. Go here to submit letters.

Posted in In Box

January 31st, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Contrary to FNN (Fake News Network), God had nothing to do with the recent rescue of the three-year-old boy in the wilds of Craven County.  This comes as a disappointment to those giving Him or Her false credit.

At the time God was in Florida hustling a deal with our President Donald Trump. Mr Trump is interested in developing the After Life and wanted some assurance that a truly worthy place awaits him.  

God played a round of golf, shot in the 70s, and listened while Mr. Trump rattled on about Heavenly Trump Mansions in the sky- all while the boy remained lost.

In all humility, if that’s possible, God suggests the reflected glory He’s received go to those humans- the firefighters, the first responders, the police, the deputies, the forest  rangers, the sailors, the Marines, the ordinary people, and any others He may be overlooking, who found the boy before exposure put him in a very early grave.

God regrets He had his hands full re-designing Heaven. When duty calls, duty calls.

John Phaup, New Bern

Posted in In Box, New Bern, Opinion

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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