Tuesday, May 2, 2017




By Cash Michaels

            YOUR “JUSTICE” DEPT. IN ACTION – By now you know that the United States Department of Justice, under Attorney General, and son of the South, Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions of Alabama, Pres. Trump’s treasured pick, has decided not to federally prosecute the Baton Rouge police officers responsible for the July 5,  2016 death of African-American male Alton Sterling.
            As a video of the tragic incident shows, the 37-year-old Sterling was confronted by two white police officers outside of a convenience store, wrestled to the ground, and then shot by one of the officers.
            Sterling was carrying a gun, however the video shows he never brandished it or pointed it towards the officers. Plus, under Louisiana law, he had a right to carry a concealed weapon.
            Sterling was selling CDs outside of the store, and had permission to do so. Police arrived after reportedly receiving a call from someone claiming to have been threatened by a man with a gun.
            The two officers claimed that they justifiably shot and killed Sterling only because he was reaching for the weapon in his pants pocket. The video fails to show any such movement on the victim’s part.
            Sterling’s family, along with Baton Rouge officials and others, had blasted the Justice Dept. for taking so long to both reach and announce whether it would be prosecuting the two officers or not for violating Sterling’s civil rights.
            So what does this tell us? Simple, that the days of Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department  protecting the rights of African-American citizens are pretty much over while Donald trump and Jess Sessions are in office.
            Sessions, a former Alabama US senator who once, as US attorney, prosecuted civil rights workers associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on BS charges (he thankfully lost that case), has vowed to review any agreements between Justice and cities that have had well-documented cases of police brutality in an effort to throw them out.
            Sessions has made it clear that in those types of cases, he’s not interested in evidence of alleged police abuse. To the contrary, his only interest is to stand behind the police, no matter what they do, or how they do it. And since he’s working for a “law and order” president who has threatened to send the feds in to Chicago and other troubled cities to “restore order,” Sessions certainly is worried about controversy because Donald apparently has his back.
            It’s only May, but already it looks like it’s going to be a long, hot summer. Can our nation tolerate a president and racist US attorney general who are more than willing to incite tensions against the police and the citizens they serve?
            We’ll see.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Wilmington’s new deputy police chief believes that building stronger relationships between the department and its citizens is the key towards better policing.
            In fact, Deputy Chief Donny Williams, 45, is a firm believer in community policing, and now that he is in the number two spot, expect him to do all that he can to make community policing a greater  hallmark of the WPD, and ultimately, Wilmington a better place for all to live.
            A born and bred Wilmingtonian, Deputy Chief Williams has been a member of the WPD for 26 years, starting in 1989 as a teenage summer youth worker. In an exclusive interview with The Wilmington Journal, Williams recalled growing up as a youth in one of the port city’s public housing developments.
            “I had always wanted to be a police officer,” he said, “The program was for at-risk kids. And luckily, I got placed at the WPD between my junior and senior years in high school.”
In 1990, Williams was hired as a patrol officer. From then on, he worked in various patrol and special assignment positions, spanning crime prevention, housing, and even D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).
Today he also oversees the department’s summer youth program, which he  started in 1995.
Moving up the promotion ladder, Williams’ keen management skills were put to work when he became police captain. He managed the WPD’s Support Services Division, in addition to the department’s largest patrol division, its $24 million budget, and the development and design of the new WPD’s training facility.
Williams believes about 14 percent of the WPD is African-American, though he suspects that percentage has fluctuated in recent years. According to City-Data.com, as of 2014 the black population of Wilmington was approximately 18.7%, or just under 21,000 residents.
            While Williams agrees that having a police force that closely reflects the community it protects in terms of racial makeup has its merits, he lauds his Caucasian officers for their work and effort in getting to know the communities of color they patrol better, and building bonds with the people there.
            Asked to describe the Wilmington that he knows and loves, Deputy Chief Williams said, “Wilmington is rich in culture and rich in history. It is a place of opportunity, and a melting pot here.”
He noted that, like other parts of the country, the port city is dealing with a heroin epidemic, which law enforcement is working on.  It is also experiencing growing traffic congestion.
And yet, Williams says Wilmington is large enough “where at some point you can get lost if you want to…”, but small enough “to where if you go out, people are going to know who you are.”
And what can citizens do to help law enforcement do their jobs better? Williams says if you see something wrong, let them know. The police can’t do their jobs better unless the people they protect are proactive in informing them when they see something out of place that could be a crime.
Deputy Chief Williams is single, but, according to him, “I’m in the process of getting married.”  Most of his family lives in Wilmington, and while he doesn’t know what the future ultimately holds, Wilmington, the city he grew up in, is the only home he ever wants to know.
            “This is where I was born,” Williams says, “and I don’t plan on leaving.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Two Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittees, asking for the restoration of funding for year-round access to Pell Grants, which students of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) sorely depend on.
US Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-6) of Greensboro and US Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) sent an April 27th letter to Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), chair of House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, as well as their Democratic ranking members, asking that year-round Pell Grants be fully funded for the fiscal year 2018 Appropriations legislation.
“Access to Pell Grants is particularly important to students attending (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs),” Walker and Scott wrote. “Around 70% of students attending an HBCU in 2017 will do so using a Pell Grant. During a recent Congressional fly-in of HBCU Presidents and Chancellors, year-round Pell garnered nearly unanimous support from those in attendance.”
Both Sen. Scott and Rep. Walker were cosponsors of that HBCU fly-in on Feb. 28th, in hopes of impressing on Congressional leaders the need to increase the federal budget for traditionally underfunded black schools.
NC A&T University and Bennett College for Women are in Walker’s congressional district.
            “Giving students the opportunity to use a Pell Grant on a year-round basis provides an incentive to accelerate their degree and stay on track for graduation,” the letter continued, earlier noting that the Pell “…is a vital resource for expanding access and affordability to higher education for some of America’s most vulnerable and non-traditional students,” with 83% of Pell Grant recipients coming from households earning $30,000or less annually” during 2013-2014.
            Re-emphasizing that year-round Pell Grants allows students to complete their course work faster, enter the workforce sooner, and “get out of school with less debt to pay back,” Sen. Scott and Rep. Walker concluded their letter with, “We believe the time is now to make this change.”
            “We urge you to consider and adopt appropriate language in any Labor-HHS appropriations bill and give student the flexibility they deserve.”
            US Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), co-chairman of the Congressional Bi-partisan HBCU Caucus, of which Rep. Walker is a member, is a strong supporter of year-round funding of Pell Grants, and blasted the Trump Administration in March when its proposed budget did the exact opposite of what the Republican president seemed to promise in February.
“There is no mention in the budget of any federal investment in scholarships, technology or campus infrastructure for HBCUs that leaders requested,” reported the Washington Post then. “And instead of expanding Pell grants for low-income students to cover summer courses as they had asked, the budget raids nearly $4 billion from the program’s reserves,” the March 16th story continued.
And outraged Rep. Adams remarked, “Instead of wasting billions on a useless border wall, Congress should support a budget that includes restoration of year-round Pell Grants and the substantial increase of their purchasing powerresources for HBCU infrastructure improvements, and robust funding for TRIO, Gear UP, federal work-study, and other essential financial aid programs that enhance opportunities for students.”
Many of North Carolina’s HBCU presidents and chancellors, like chancellors Elwood Robinson of Winston-Salem State University and Harold Martin of North Carolina A&T University, have also urged both the Trump Administration and Congress to for continuous support of Pell Grants.
And students from HBCUs in North Carolina and across the country rallied at Capitol Hill April 27th, the same day Rep. Walker and Sen. Scott sent their letter to the Appropriation subcommittee chairs of both houses, asking for Congress to support year-round Pell Grants and other education funding programs.
Jack Minor, communications director for Rep. Walker, says that helping HBCUs is a priority of the Republican-led Congress.
For us, most of what we are looking for can and would be done outside the scope of the budget,” Minor said in a statement. “For instance, expanding Pell grants to year-round, and focusing on fostering private-public relationships to help HBCU students with more opportunities after school.”



            [WINDSOR] The SBI says an inmate at the Bertie Correctional institution plotted to kill Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan by setting a fire he knew she would respond to on April 26th. The inmate, Craig Wissink, then  allegedly beat Callahan to death with a fire extinguisher. Wissink, 35, is now charged with first-degree murder. The female guard died from her injuries to her head later that afternoon. She had been with the department since January 2012.

            Wake Schools Supt. Jim Merrill met with leaders of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Wednesday to discuss the latest in a string of racially charged incidents that have taken place in the school system since January. The most recent incident involved a video taken at Apex Friendship High School of a black female step team performing during a school pep rally. Posted to Snapchat, the video is captioned, “"plantation owner watches his former slaves rejoice and celebrate their newfound freedom, circa 1864." The principal has denounced the video as “highly offensive”. The student responsible for the video has been disciplined, reports say. Rev. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, says the Wake School System must do more to stop incidents of hate.

            [WILMINGTON]  They call him the GOAT, meaning the “greatest of all time,” and this week, Michael Jordan returned to the place where he learned the basketball skills that made him an NBA legend. Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets, visited Laney Hill Tuesday afternoon to film a Gatorade commercial on campus. But he also took the time to say hello to some of the staff who were there when he was just a student. Jordan graduated Laney in 1981, and then attended UNC-Chapel Hill where he helped Dean Smith win a championship.

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