Tuesday, December 12, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            SAVING MY LIFE – Make no mistake…if it wasn’t for the grace of GOD, I wouldn’t be here to write this column to you. The list of chronic diseases I was suffering from were as long as a baseball team roster. But with me turning age 62 in about three weeks, I can honestly say that I’ve never been in better shape than I am today.
            This is part three of a column I started several weeks ago, sharing with you why getting back into good health is much, much more than just diet and losing weight.
            But I had to go through a whole lot to learn that!
Diabetes in 2006 (blood sugar OVER 800!!! (they had to test the urine sample several times to confirm, and couldn't understand how I even drove to the clinic, because by bodily organs were breaking down, and they knew I wouldn't live past the weekend if I wasn't taken to Duke IMMEDIATELY and put on an IV to get my blood sugar back down to 157).
Severe stroke in my left leg and arm in November 2014 ( two physcian friends I emailed about why I couldn't suddenly walk, even though I was feeling no pain insisted that it was neurological, and I get to the emergency room STAT. The following month, my new cardio doctor put two stents in my heart to protect against a more massive stroke).
Acute leukemia in March 2016 (rushed to the emergency room literally feeling my body breaking down. After some tests, AML diagnosed, and i'm transferred, IN SHOCK, by ambulance to UNC Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill. For the next five to six months, I undergo AGGRESSIVE chemotherapy. It's really only later do i understand that cancer cells were literally destroying my white blood cells rapidly, leaving me with no immune system to fight off infection. With GOD's blessing, the doctors and nurses at UNC, and eventually at Rex, work diligently to SAVE MY LIFE!
I've been in remission for over a year now. If I can remain cancer-free (no recurrence of cancer cells anywhere in my body) for the next four years and counting, then I, most likely, will remain cancer-free (at least as far as AML is concerned) for the rest of my life).
Last August, my colonoscopy was negative as well (Praise GOD).
So given the self-inflicted drama in my own life, I can bear witness to ALL of the above personally, and that gives me license to say the following.....
Don't lose weight just to look good or feel good! Lose weight because you KNOW that your dying spiritually, emotionally, and physically!
Build (or rebuild) your relationship with GOD FIRST, because it is from THAT, that all of your strength will flow from!
You see, you've tried dieting before, only to gain ALL of the weight back, and then some.
I'll never forget many years ago before he died, one of the greatest singers in my lifetime, Luther Vandross, appeared on Oprah. He had just lost a tremendous amount of weight, and looked great. Oprah asked how he did it, and Luther pointedly said he stopped eating all breads in his diet, and that did the trick.
But Luther also said something that now explains why he eventually put all of that weight back on. Luther was in a new relationship....but once that relationship broke up (apparently badly), distraught, he went back to emotional eating.
Luther left us too soon.
Indeed, most of our most famous artists - Michael Jackson, Prince, etc., left us too soon because they emotionally abused themselves with substances that destroyed their minds, and their temples, through addiction.
Your faith should inform how you conduct yourself emotionally, and how you conduct yourself emotionally should inform how you treat yourself nutritionally and physically.
My love  and faith in Jesus Christ, tells me that HE wants me to TAKE BETTER CARE OF MYSELF, to have more confidence in myself as a child of GOD, and that I am responsible for properly maintaining the temple that HE has given me.

More next week in part four.


by Cash Michaels
staff writer

            In the aftermath of last week’s shocking controversy involving a “black mammy” Christmas calendar distributed to residents of Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay Health Center, The Wilmington Journal, at the invitation of Jeff Wilson, the chief operating officer of Liberty Health Management, Bradley Creek’s parent company, submitted questions for him to answer as to why the racist holiday calendar came about in the first place.
            The Journal asked Mr. Wilson to respond to the questions by Tuesday of this week.
            But on Monday, Wilson forwarded the following email: “Bradley Creek has been made aware of the possibility of legal action. As a result, it would not be appropriate to provide further comment.”
            Wilson continued, “We acknowledge the offensive nature of this image, and again, sincerely apologize for its use.”
            Apparently, Bradley Creek is concerned that the black former employee it “suspended until further notice” after she took a picture of the offensive calendar and gave it to the NCNAACP may sue the company for it’s punitive action against her.
            Marvelia Jackson, who worked as a medical technician at Bradley Creek, and was one of two black staffers to complain about the “slave lady” calendar to management, forcing them to retrieve all of the calendars distributed four days after they were originally given out, may indeed have a legal case against Bradley Creek, says atty. Irving Joyner, chairman of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee.
            I surmise that Ms. Jackson has a viable employment discrimination claim for her wrongful dismissal based on race and retaliation for the reporting of the action of the [Activity Director] in circulating the racist poster,” Joyner told The Wilmington Journal. “Further investigation is needed to determine if there is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in operating an all-white nursing home which is receiving federal and possibly state monies.”
“The NC NAACP has not been in conversation with the company, and typically leaves that contact up to the local branch to flush out the facts, and need for other legal or administrative actions.”
That means the New Hanover County NAACP branch is the tip of the spear in this situation. The Journal can confirm that representatives of the branch met with Ms. Jackson Monday, and possibly Tuesday as well. During their press conference last Friday, NHC NAACP Chapter Pres. Deborah Dix Maxwell declared that they were indeed investigating, and would determine if civil rights legal action was needed.
Whether that is what CCO Jeff Wilson of Liberty Health Management was reacting to is not clear.
Meanwhile, the Activity Director at Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay who was responsible for the racist Christmas calendar that displayed an old image of a black mammy saying “Merry Christmas,” was fired after the Wilmington Journal first and exclusively broke the story December 7th.
In an online message sent to The Journal the following evening, Jennifer Dicicco Alaimo, the former Activity Director, wrote, “This is Jenny. At this time I think it best to not say anything.”
            Alaimo was responding to a written request by online message from The Wilmington Journal, requesting an interview to get her side of the story as to why she chose what is generally considered a demeaning old racist image to place on a Christmas calendar listing the events for senior residents for the month of December.
            That calendar was distributed to residents at Bradley Creek on December 1st and hung on display, until two black staffers saw it, and complained to management about it. The calendars were then taken back from distribution of Monday, Dec. 4th.
            “I heard from family members that the residents are upset over my termination,” Ms. Alaimo continued. “I am not ‘thoughtless.’ I will talk to you when things settle down. The residents are my first priority.”
            When The Journal acknowledged that not speaking now was her choice, and that it will be respected until such time that she is ready, Ms. Alaimo replied, “Thank you for respecting my wishes and my love for my residents. I’ll be in touch soon.”
            At press time Tuesday, The Journal had not heard back from Ms. Alaimo.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            With the stated Dec. 15th deadline to respond looming this week, Republican legislative leaders – Senate Pro tem Phil Berger and House Tim Moore - have yet to acknowledge a Nov. 27th invitation rendered by the NCNAACP several weeks ago to meet with the civil rights group to discuss criminal justice reform, and other issues.
            I have not heard from the remaining two as was expected,” Dr. T. Anthony  Spearman, president of the NCNAACP told this newspaper Tuesday. “Their patterns are proven and sure.”
            It was Nov. 27th in a letter when Dr. Spearman invited the heads of “the three co-equal branches of government” to meet with the NCNAACP.
“Today, while our nation and state are in the midst of great political turbulence, caused at least in part by racist voting an criminal justice policies and practices, there is a great need for honest political leaders to speak directly with each other and listen carefully across the table of civility,” he wrote then.
Thus far, both Gov. Roy Cooper and NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin have accepted the invitations issued by Spearman.
            The N.C. Constitution provides these three co-equal branches of our  government [executive, legislative and judicial] shall operate independently, providing a system of checks and balances on each other that enhances the ability of our democracy to flourish, even in turbulent periods of change we sometimes experience as we work to create a “more perfect union” since North Carolina was founded, half slave and half-free in 1789,” Dr. Spearman said in a recent statement.  “These meetings will help my new leadership team get its bearings since my October election as president of the NC NAACP, and help us make plans to move North Carolina forward together toward the 109-year-old purpose of the NAACP—to eliminate racial discrimination and prejudice from our society.”
            Spearman continued, “We are delighted the leaders of two branches of the government have accepted our request for a meeting. We will keep the public informed about these historic meetings.  In the spirit of the season, we trust we will be hearing from the legislative branch soon.”
            The NCNAACP president added that the meetings will occur separately. “We are scheduled to meet with Justice Martin on Jan. 16, 2018,” Dr. Spearman said. “The meeting with the Governor has not given us a date yet. “
A reporter’s inquiry was emailed Tuesday to both Republican legislative leaders Berger [R- Rockingham}and Moore (R-Cleveland), asking if they intended to attend the meeting with the NCNAACP in the near future, and if not, why not?
There was no answer from either Senate Berger’s office or Speaker Moore’s office by press time Tuesday. Nor had either Republican leader responded directly to the NCNAACP.
“We are hopeful that we will get a response to our letter by the 15th of December, but…you can mark me by this,” Dr. Spearman vowed on Nov. 27th, “… that if we do not receive anything, we are geared up to move forward, as we have been doing, to do rallies, whatever needs to be done, for such a time a this”.
It may not be wise for Dr. Spearman to hold his breath waiting for either Berger or Moore to respond positively, or otherwise.
In 2015, the Cleveland County NAACP blasted Speaker Moore for alleged voter suppression, the denial of Medicaid expansion, and failure to support an increase in the minimum wage for workers.
And in 2014, the NCNAACP went after Sen. Berger for creating and airing TV ads that misrepresented voting eligibility at the polls.
Neither Berger or Moore have never had a constructive statement about the NCNAACP, which they see as adversaries

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As with Tuesday special election vote in Alabama, or the 2016 presidential and gubernatorial contests in North Carolina, the black vote is always key to Democratic victories. Simply put, if African-Americans vote in large numbers, Democrats win.
            And if they don’t, Republicans remain in charge.
            Linda Wilkins-Daniels is all too familiar with this act, and that’s why, now that she’s been elected to a second term a president of the African-American Caucus of the NC Democratic Party (AAC-NCDP), she’s rallying twenty-two chapters of the AAC-NCDP to mobilize the African-American vote to turnout for the all-important 2018 midterm elections.
            “The agenda of the AAC is to promote political participation and education within  the African-American community,” Wilkins-Daniels said. “To encourage African-Americans to seek public office, represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party leadership, and work towards strengthening the Democratic Party>”
Even in the face of the Trump Administration and its controversial policies, and Republican majorities in the Congress and North Carolina legislature, Democrats believe they can possibly make tremendous headway on all electoral levels come 2018. Just this week, Gov. Roy Cooper unveiled the roster of legislative candidates who will be running for the NC General Assembly next year, and six of the candidates are women.
            On top of that, former state Representative Linda Coleman ha already announced that she’s running for Congress in the tough Second Congressional District, seeking to unseat incumbent Republican US Rep. George Holding. And civil right Attorney Anita Earls is running for the NC Supreme Court.
            “Qualified candidates,” Wilkins-Daniels said in reaction. “We have a lot of these in the black community.”
            Wilkins-Daniels is convinced that the black vote can make all the difference in 2018, and she’s making sure that the AAC-NCDP is properly gearing up to do just that. But make no mistake, the AAC-NCDP president is the first to maintain that the Democratic Party “…has to take a look at itself.” She, along with other black Democrats, is frustrated with examples of the party not being loyal to it’s most loyal base of supporters – African-Americans.
            Indeed, like the recent mayoral race in Raleigh showed, there is clear evidence that many of the party leadership will turn its back on qualified black candidates in favor of what are considered more bankable white candidates (in the Raleigh mayoral race, the incumbent was an unaffiliated white female, and her black challenger a Democrat, yet prominent Democrats like former Governor Jim Hunt publicly endorsed the white unaffiliated incumbent).
            Wilkins-Daniels blasted the party for that, and pushed a online petition drive to have Hunt’s name removed from the annual Sanford – Hunt-Frye Democratic fundraising dinner. She insists that if black voters are going to continue to support the Democratic Party, then the party needs to stop even the appearance of taking the African-American vote for granted, and deliver on its promises, and become even more inclusive in it’s black candidate support.
            “Or else more people will be driven away,” Wilkins-Daniels warns.
            Right now, thanks to numerous court cases involving redistricting, exactly how the 2018 midterm elections shape up is up in the air. But Linda Wilkins-Daniels assures that the AAC-NCDP, through black voter issue education, and black voter mobilization, will be doing it’s part to take North Carolina back.
            “We’re going to be a force to reckon with in the 2018 election,’ she promised.
           STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 12-14-17

            [RALEIGH] Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare,” is supposed to end Friday, Dec. 15th. But Gov. Roy Cooper feels the period should be extended at least by a week in order for more people in need of affordable health insurance to sign-up. Cooper asked Us Dept. of Health and Human Services Acting Sec. Eric Hargan to add more time so that more North Carolinians could go to www.healthcare.gov and register. The Trump Administration shortened the open enrollment period from three months to just six weeks. North Carolina has the third largest enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace in the country.

            [RALEIGH] Laura Riddick, a Republican who served as Wake County Register of Deeds for 20 years, turned herself in to authorities this week after she was indicted by a grand jury for embezzling over $1million from the county office. An internal audit determined that upwards on $1,900-a –day was taken for several years. Three other former employees at the county Deeds Office were also indicted. The State bureau of Investigation has been investigating since March. Even though authorities have traced over a $1 million back to Riddick and the three former employees, the county has filed an insurance claim for $2,333,591.30 that it says is missing.

            [RALEIGH] If you own a home in North Carolina, or even rent an apartment, prepare to pay more to protect your property. That’s because insurance companies want to raise the rate of homeowners and renters insurance by as much as 18 percent, or even more, depending on where you live. Insurance companies say they have to cover the rising costs of coverage, especially in the aftermath of a destructive hurricane season.


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