Thursday, July 28 from 6 to 8, enjoy networking, hors d’oeuvres and wine and beer at the Rhino Times Schmoozefest while getting building ad renovation ideas at the design showroom of BMC (formerly Stock Building Supply and, before that, Guilford Builders Supply) at 1621 Battleground Ave. The event is free to business professionals who sign in and wear a name tag.


We launched a new interactive virtual paper on our website last week and, because you never know what might happen when you try something new, we didn’t mention it last week.

A feature that I like is that one click enlarges the page and a second click takes you back to the original size. Also, you can click on any of the ads and it takes you to the advertiser’s website. The archives are on the site and are searchable. You can click on a photo and it takes you to the photo gallery, and I’m sure it does a lot of other stuff.

Scott Yost said I should write that you can capture a whole bunch of Poke Men on our site. I’m not sure what he was talking about, but I’m pretty sure it’s not true. Anyway, you can check it out for yourself at


Folks seem surprised to learn that Donald Trump didn’t write the Art of the Deal. People like Trump don’t write books. They hire people to write books for them.

Writing a book is hard work, takes a long time and means spending hours alone staring at a computer screen. Trump does not appear to be the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time alone.

What would be really interesting is if the writer who wrote Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama came forward. Obama didn’t write it, but we probably won’t find out who did for 20 years, if ever.


I agree with News & Record Editorial Page Editor Allen Johnson that the shooting of Todd Burroughs by Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department deputies has not been well handled. It could be used as a case study in crises management, on what not to do.

However, Johnson doesn’t get to make up facts about the new police body-cam video law just because he doesn’t like it. What he wrote about the new law is not a misinterpretation, it’s just wrong. Johnson is so wrong it makes me wonder if he even bothered to read the law before he wrote about it because his column sounds like he depended on what liberal reporters have said about the law, not the law itself.

The new body-cam video law does not give the authority on whether or not to release a video to the head of the law enforcement agency. In fact, it entirely takes away that power from the sheriff or police chief. Johnson stated that it gave the sheriff or police chief the sole authority to release a body cam video. In fact, the law does the opposite. Even if a sheriff or police chief wants to release the video, they can’t do it because only a Superior Court judge has the power to release a video.

Under the law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, only a Superior Court judge can release a video. The chief law enforcement officer has the power to allow someone in the video to see the portion they are in, but the law does not give him or her the right to release the video to anyone.

For the video to be released any interested party has to petition the courts. Superior Court judges, not law enforcement, will make the decision on releasing a video.

I also agree that the law is far too restrictive. A citizen should be able to see a video without going to court. However, it is far less restrictive than the interpretation of the law that most law enforcement agencies in the state have been using, that the video is a part of the officer’s personnel file. Johnson and the News & Record, had three years to challenge the interpretation in court and didn’t do so. A judge could have overruled the interpretation and declared the body-worn camera videos to be public records. But without a court challenge, we will never know what the judiciary would have ruled.


The tale of two City Council meetings was as different as night and day. Monday, the City Council work session was raucous – three and four people talking at once, there was no discernible order and even Mayor Nancy Vaughan was confused about what they were doing. City Manager Jim Westmoreland tried to bring order a couple of times, but it’s hard to tell your bosses what to do.

At the meeting on Tuesday night, Vaughan kept the crowd from shouting, catcalling and applauding their speakers. She even got Lewis Pitts to sit down and be quiet when his time was up. It was one of the better-run meetings with a full house this council has had.

The question is, which mayor will show up at the next meeting?


The Muse has been trying to get me to go tubing for a while and this weekend she succeeded. We went up to Jessup Mill, a little north of Hanging Rock State Park. Jessup Mill is the kind of place that after about 10 minutes you start feeling at home, and after 30 minutes you’re answering questions for people who just arrived.

We spent about two-and-a-half hours on the river, which has enough rough water to be interesting but nothing scary. The slanderous rumor that we hit every single rock in the river is not true; I’m sure we missed one somewhere.

Ten years ago I spent quite a bit of time in the area around Hanging Rock and I can’t believe how much it has grown. There are new places to eat, to stay and a lot of new activities, and Hanging Rock itself is only an hour from my front door.


The News & Record is going to continue to go after Duke Energy on coal ash and isn’t going to let the facts get in its way.

As Davis Montgomery, a district manager for Duke Energy, noted in his N&R guest column, coal ash is not a toxic substance. The N&R replied, yes, but it contains toxic substances.

That is absolutely true. What they don’t mention is that your drinking water also contains toxic substances, as does the dirt in your yard, the concrete in your sidewalk and the bricks in your house, as well wood, paint and pretty much everything around you.

Even if you only eat organic food, it has toxic substances in it. And if you eat locally grown food, that probably includes arsenic.

Our drinking water, which is some of the best in the country, contains arsenic. It is naturally occurring and it isn’t enough to be dangerous, but it is still higher than some other areas and it has nothing to do with pollution. It’s because our soil has a relatively high concentration of arsenic compared to some other areas.

Toxic substances are all around us. As long as they are not in high enough concentrations to be dangerous, there is no need to be alarmed.

Coal ash has been used as a soil supplement for agricultural crops because, along with some toxic substances, it has beneficial substances. If it were anywhere near as dangerous as the N&R would have you believe, would the EPA have ever allowed farmers to add it to their fields?