Monday, February 28, 2005

A Good Man Has Passed

Cecil "Buster" Mayberry Church

EDEN -- Cecil "Buster" Mayberry Church, 71, of 1257 Rivercrest Drive, passed away on Saturday morning, Feb. 26, 2005 at N.C. Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at Fair Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow in Ridgeview Cemetery.

Mr. Church was born on Nov. 17, 1933 to the late Joseph and Bessie Leonard Church in Spray (now Eden) N.C. He was a member of the First Church of the Living God and was retired from Spray Cotton Mills with over 43 years of service.

Mr. Church is survived by his wife of over 48 years, Nancy Jarrell Church of the home; daughter Jan C. Wingfield and husband Randy of Ridgeway, Va.; sons, Jim Church and wife Teresa of Eden and Wayne Church of the home; brothers, Emmett Church and wife Laura Ann of Eden and Lester Church of Columbia, S.C.; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Fair Funeral Home and other times at the home.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bringing up the Rear

I've experienced the absolute worst start to any fantasy sports league I've ever been involved with. After the season-opening Daytona 500, I'm dead last (20th out of 20) in my NASCAR fantasy auto racing league through Yahoo! As they say in the racing world, "I need to make some adjustments."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Police Blotter

The peace and tranquility that I have experienced in the nearly two years of living at my current apartment here in Raleigh was interrupted late last night. While lying in bed preparing to call it a night, I heard a car traveling down the road at a high rate of speed. Cars flying down this road is nothing new, but my ears told me this one was traveling much faster than most. Then came the sounds of screeching tires and a heavy thud.

I peered out my window where a small group of passing motorists and residents from my apartment had started to gather. I couldn’t see the car, but knew that it must be resting at the bottom of a tree-lined embankment directly across the street from my apartment unit. I dressed and went out to see what the commotion was about.

As police cars, fire trucks and EMS vehicles arrived, I overheard someone in the gathering crowd say they saw the driver flee the scene and that someone, who was unresponsive, was still in the backseat of the mangled car. I said a quiet prayer for their safety. One of my neighbors said he saw part of the incident, but not the crash itself. He said the vehicle was trying to pass another vehicle and begin to veer off the road. He theorized it was a case a road rage gone awry. The tire tracks in the soft earth on the shoulder of the road were visible, as were the skid marks in the road that pointed to the car’s final destination.

I continued to watch from a distance all the activity that was taking place. Police officers took statements, measured the distance of the skid marks and rolled off police tape. I knew that wasn’t good…that this wasn’t just a regular accident and there was likely a fatality. A short time later, EMS workers and firefighters appeared at the top of the embankment with a person strapped to a stretcher. There didn’t appear to be a sense of urgency to load the person into the ambulance. When I saw the person’s arm on stretcher fall limply and dangle off the side of the stretcher as he was being loaded into the ambulance, I knew that he was at least unconscious, but most likely dead.

When I initially heard the speed at which the car was traveling and the subsequent crash, my first thought was that someone trying to be cool and go fast had simply lost control of their vehicle. I’m no Perry Mason, but when I heard others talking about the driver fleeing and leaving an unresponsive passenger in the car, I knew this was all wrong.

Well, according to this morning’s news, the passengers in the vehicle were suspects in a robbery at a nearby apartment who were fleeing the scene at the time of the crash. Following is WRAL TV’s account of the incident.

Robbery Suspect Dies In Wreck; Two Remain At Large

POSTED: 6:52 am EST February 17, 2005
UPDATED: 9:12 am EST February 17, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. -- One suspected robber died after a group fled a home invasion and robbery and wrecked their car late Wednesday night in Raleigh, police said.

Police said that a group of men broke into an apartment on Scholar Circle at the Ivy Chase Apartment complex around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. During the robbery at the house, four people in the house were injured.

The three armed suspects fled the apartment, and soon afterward police received calls about a car that had wrecked on Lake Dam Road.

The suspects' car had slid off the road and down an embankment. One person in the car died.

Two people fled the scene, but not before threatening to hurt passing motorists who had stopped nearby to help, police said.

"All I saw was the car laying in the ditch," said Paul Offhaus. "(I) approached the vehicle after the accident and the driver of the vehicle said he was gonna shoot me."

Police found one of the robbery victims' wallets in the car. Police are still searching for the two other men.

The four people in the apartment were stabbed, but their injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Police were not chasing the suspects' car at the time of the wreck.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Feeling Blue

"Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,"
--Ephesians 4:26

Well, this was a hard principle to follow last night, after watching my beloved Carolina Tar Heels fumble away the basketball in the waning moments of a 71-70 loss to arch-rival Dook at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

After fighting their way back in the second half, the Tar Heels had a chance for a potential game-winning final shot with 18 seconds to play. Instead, Carolina failed to get off a shot after point guard Raymond Felton picked up his dribble at the top the key and tried to pass while under pressure to David Noel on the right sideline. Carolina's fleeting hopes for a victory rolled out of bounds with the basketball as the final seconds ticked off he clock.

I definitely went to bed angry. Whether I sinned or not, that's another matter. Hopefully, with some repentance and a 7.5-mile run this morning, I've now been cleansed.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Emerging Issues Forum

Pulled a shift staffing the media check-in table at the Emerging Issues Forum hosted by NC State yesterday. One of the perks was getting to attend a luncheon where the keynote speaker was former cabinet member to Pres. Bush Tommy Thompson, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary and former governor of Wisconsin.

The theme of the forum focused on health care, and Thompson's remarks dealt with shifting the focus of health care in the United States to more of an emphasis on preventive care. He gave an interesting speech and spoke of some of the initiatives he instituted in his own department as secretary, such as fighting for healthy dining options in the office cafeteria, giving all employees padometers, having them paint pictures on the stairwell and piping music in the stairwells to encourage people to walk more. I guess I found the talk so interesting since I've become a quasi-health nut over the past few years. After the speech, I also had a chance to see North Carolina's former governor, Jim Hunt.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Monkey Business

I know I'm weighing in a couple days late on this, but, in my estimation, this was a pretty down year for Super Bowl commercials. After Gladys Knight appeared as a rugby player in a pitch for MBNA credit cards, one guy at the Super Bowl gathering I attended said, "You just wasted your $2.4 million!"

My favorites were the ads for CareerBuilder which featured a man working in an office surrounded by chimpanzees in suits going crazy, prompting the man to repeatedly say, "I work with a bunch of monkeys." I know dressing chimps in clothes and getting them to act like humans is an old formula, but it still struck a chord with me.

I also liked the FedEx ad which outlined 10 criteria needed to have the best Super Bowl commercial and then weaved all 10 elements together in the 30-second spot. The 10 elements needed were: 1. a celebrity (Burt Reynolds); 2. a cute animal; 3. a dancing animal; 4. a cute kid; 5. a groin kick; 6. a talking animal; 7. attractive women; 8. product message (optional); 9. a famous pop song; and 10. a bonus ending.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

First Day of Classes

Headed up to Wake Forest this evening for my Introduction to Church Planting class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Didn't do much tonight except go over the syllabus and divide into groups for our semester-long group project. Looking forward to getting back into the swing of seminary.