It’s a gorgeous day outside this spring Saturday in New Bern. As I’ve said during my morally responsible socially distant walks around the neighborhood, it’s a gorgeous pandemic spring day. Many downtown stores are reopening and more and more people are coming out of their houses, either just for a change of scenery if they are short on cash, or to spend some of their stimulus money if any of it is left after paying the rent or mortgage. It’s easy to forget that COVID-19 is a new virus for which no one has an immunity, maybe not even those who have already had it.Read More →

Editor: 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,Read More →

New Bern received a mediocre score for family friendliness in North Carolina from WalletHub, a website that produces data-driven articles ranking various subjects in various categories. In ranking North Carolina cities for “2019’s Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina,” New Bern ranked 56th out of 87 cities. The top-ranked city was Cary, while coming in at 87th was Laurinburg. In Eastern North Carolina, Havelock — you read that right — was the highest rated city in the survey, coming in at 35th. Other Eastern NC cities were Wilmington (44th), Greenville (53rd), Jacksonville (59th), Wilson (70th), Elizabeth City (75th), Tarboro (77th), Goldsboro (81st), andRead More →

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, ifRead More →

Did you go by the new Harris Teeter since it opened on Wednesday? Odds are pretty good that you did. In a small town like New Bern, folks here can be relied on to try something new. Remember when Cook Out opened? On opening day, I saw city officials including Jeff Odham, in whose ward the new Harris Teeter is located, and City Manager Mark Stephens proudly roaming the vast floor space of the gleaming new store. Coke Mann, a partner with Columbia Development Group, developer of the shopping center, was quoted in the Sun Journal crediting Odham and Mayor Dana Outlaw for their bringingRead More →

No one disputes the success of the 30-year transformation of Downtown New Bern from a run-down blighted mess, to the vibrant tourist attraction it has become. One thing that made the transformation so successful is that it restored 19th and early 20th century buildings to their original glory. Now, armed with a new redevelopment agency and a roadmap called the Greater Five Points Transformation Plan, the City of New Bern turns its attention to a collection of historically black neighborhoods collectively called “Greater Duffyfield.” (Note: I put “Greater Duffyfield” in quotes, because historically, they were different neighborhoods, not the least of which is Dryborough. “GreaterRead More →

Odds and ends I’ve collected over the past week. Could it be? In October, aldermen approved $15,876 to allow for New Bern Police special operations to attack the opioid epidemic. I sent an inquiry to the city for additional information about this. Here is the response: Chief (Toussaint) Summers is at a conference & I (city public relations director Colleen Roberts) wanted to make sure to touch base with him about the New Bern Police Department budget and your inquiry.  He has responded that the money will be used for special investigative purposes. That is all the detail that can be provided. Well that wasn’t very informative,Read More →

You should know that the original version of this article has been taken down following a cease and desist demand from GateHouse Media. I was the executive editor at the Sun Journal until October 2017, when I resigned for personal and professional reasons. Once I discovered that at least one Sun Journal telemarketer was misrepresenting the circumstances of my departure from the company, I posted my resignation letter along with a memo  I wrote just prior to my resignation. A short time later, GateHouse Media sent me a cease and desist demand, which I present here in its entirety: December 14, 2017 Mr. Randy FosterRead More →