Editor and Publisher
John H. Walker
There was more than a measure of excitement in Tarboro this weekend, as North East Carolina Prep received final approval from the State of North Carolina to begin classes on August 1 and a new Distinguished Young Woman of Edgecombe County (nee: Junior Miss) was crowned.
While he jury is still out of charter schools in parts of the country, there are more which are successful than not and the key is the preparation of our youth for the future — both theirs and ours.
On Saturday night, Keihin Auditorium was about two-thirds full to support the 14 young women competing for the opportunity to represent Edgecombe County for the next 12 months.
As soon we got back to the computer, we uploaded a photo of winner Janie Leland on our Facebook page so those who were unable to attend could receive the news.
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Talking about the DYW program, I had one of those “OMG!!!!!” moments as I headed by to my apartment in Lake Valley.
With rain peppering down and the roadway looking blacker than normal because of that, I was driving a bit slower than the 45 mile per hour speed limit as I moved beyond the point where Main and Western come together.
I drove past the houses lining the road and the old service station-turned used car lot-turned vacant business on the left and on past the little convenience store.
Up ahead, on the south side of the roadway is a Hispanic church — and on both Friday night while driving to Cotton’s and Saturday night, while heading to DYW, I had noticed a large number of vehicles parked on the north side of the highway.
It was about 10:30 when my eyes thought they picked up a glimpse of movement in the roadway. Thinking it was a dog or a deer, I let my foot off the gas and them knew it was much, much more.
Three people, one walking alongside the white stripe on the edge of the road and a man and a woman walking down the middle — MIDDLE — of the road became visible as I remember screaming “Oh, my God!” and slamming on the brakes.
Red, my Jeep Wrangler, went into full lockdown and I stopped less than 50 feet from the couple walking the center stripe. As much angry with them as shaken myself, I blew my horn and flashed my hi-beams to signal to them to finish crossing the road.
According to statistics, at 45 it takes about 150 feet to see, react and brake. That means I was about 175 to 200 feet away when I picked up the woman’s bright, blue skirt in the edge of my lights. It was the ONLY piece of clothing that wasn’t dark.
At 55, I wouldn’t have had the reaction time as the charts tell me I would have hit them 40 feet before being able to come to a full stop and I wouldn’t be writing this column now.
The incident reminded me of something my Mom once told me … that you may know what you will do if something happens, but you have no control over the actions of others.
As Michael Conrad, who played Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues, always cautioned: “Let’s be careful out there.”
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And here’s my weekly update to you on your newspaper:
• Apologies to everyone involved in the 2012 DYW program for our failure to get an advance story into the newspaper before Friday. Despite having made the assignment and provided contact info, we didn’t follow through. We will continue to strive to do better.
• Despite having a story written and in the files to make it to the paper, one scheduled for last Thursday on North East Carolina Prep didn’t publish. It was a failure to fully communicate as staff members and a new boss learn one another.
• We pulled the skyboxes (the little boxes at the top of the front page) this past week to allow for more room for news. It may not seem like a lot, but that extra nine inches or so allows for another story or bigger photos.
• We continue to work to increase our local story count so you are truly abreast of the things that are going on in the community in which we live. We rely on you to get us a number of items, such as your events and activities, to keep the calendar of events full.
As always, we appreciate your support and understanding as we continue to work to make yours a better newspaper.
(John H. Walker is editor and publisher of The Daily Southerner and may be contacted by email at email@example.com or 823-3106.)