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CRAWFORD: Examining the filthiest contracts and ultimate bargains in pro sports

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Kobe Bryant loosens his tie and leans back in his seat, struggling to swallow the Lakers’ latest home loss to Charlotte.In minutes, he’ll chastise coach Mike D’Antoni and the effort of teammates to reporters before presenting no explanation as to why Los Angeles has dropped to 16-31 two weeks before the All-Star break.Why is he befuddled? No doubt he wants to win and Bryant’s championship pedigree proves it, but mired in mediocrity, there’s nothing he can do this season for a franchise trying to stay relevant.


Reading and righting

In the summer of 2010, when news broke that the football program at the state’s flagship university was being investigated by the NCAA, officials at the University of North Carolina took an accommodating posture. Instead of mounting a public-relations defense, they beared the onslaught without a grin, apparently having made the decision that if they didn’t join the conversation, perhaps it would be shortened.

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This is Day 2 of earning for yourself

RALEIGH — The weather is getting warmer, the plants are in bloom, and people are starting to spend more time outside. Yes, it’s springtime, and as we get more comfortable with the season change, one thing continues to put a damper on things — tax day. April 15 arrived yesterday, but do you know exactly how long it took you to pay those taxes?If we add up every tax you have to pay — federal, state, property, etc. — how long would it take? What is the co...

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RCC unanimously nixes land deal

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County trustees on Monday unanimously voted to turn down a request from COMtech Park to sell or trade some prime property it owns at the park’s entrance so that the COMtech can move forward with plans to establish a Business Support Center.Noah Woods, the chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and a trustee at the college, abstained. The county had lobbied trustees in favor of COMtech’s request, with County Manager Ricky Harr...

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Rand Paul’s foreign policy problem

The oil-services company Halliburton is an old obsession of the anti-Bush left, and evidently of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.The libertarian standard-bearer and almost-certain Republican presidential candidate suggested to audiences a few years ago that Vice President Dick Cheney’s views on the Iraq War were influenced by his time as CEO at Halliburton. Cheney had opposed going into Iraq during the Persian Gulf War under the first President George Bush; then, after a stint at Hal...

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Gala recalls the Roaring 20s

LUMBERTON — If anyone wandered into the back of Candy Sue’s restaurant on Saturday, they may have thought they had stepped out of a time machine.For the night, the downtown eatery became a speakeasy, complete with a big band, couples doing the jitterbug — and a concoction called Giggle Water.The Roaring on the River Gala signalled the end of the Great Getaway, a series of 1920s-themed events put on by the Robeson County Arts Council. Before the party, r...

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City OKs design for new shelter

LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council on Monday night unanimously voted to accept an over-budget bid for construction of an emergency shelter and soup kitchen downtown so that the building be redesigned in order to lower costs.The council, meeting as the Council Policy Committee, on Wednesday had approved the $1,218,000 bid from Central Builders. The bid is more than $100,000 above the the amount of grant money available for the project.Accepting the bid allows th...

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Baseball Elite Poll: Slugfest Lumberton’s to win

Say what you want about the seeding — it is voted on by coaches after all — but the Robeson County Slugfest at Red Springs is Lumberton’s tournament to win this season, jokingly labeled the ‘Pirate Invitational’ a season ago after the program’s seventh title in the last 11 years.Lumberton, seeded third this weekend behind Fairmont and Purnell Swett, has taken the business trip angle in recent years in the spring break kickoff tournament, capturin...

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Teacher-pay report short on specifics

RALEIGH — Several educators and legislators on a General Assembly task force were cool Monday to their own panel’s recommendations for overhauling public school teacher compensation, which included few specific actions and asked for another study.The final report of the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force lacked a detailed road map on how to improve salaries for all educators and evaluate teacher performance to reward the best instructors.

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Mississippi falls back to hateful ways

Mississippi, my adopted home state, place that I love, is reverting to its old ways, which many of us who live here had believed and hoped to be in the distant past.Mississippi is using religion to discriminate against minorities, and politicians are pandering to the lowest common denominator of voters, making hay of hate. This time, the targets are gays and lesbians.

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Gas leak under control

LUMBERTON — A minor gas leak that caused a residential street to be blocked off this afternoon has been repaired, according to Lumberton police Lt. Timmy Wilkins.The leak began at about 3:30 p.m. at a home on the corner of Caldwell and Ninth streets. No one was evacuated or injured, Wilkins said.“A guy was doing some digging around the house and just nicked the gas line,” Wilkins said.About three Lumberton police cars blocked off entrances to...

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Harvick survives shootout for 1st Darlington win

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick used one of the few weekend missteps to pull out his first Darlington victory.Harvick was among several veteran drivers fighting for the Nationwide Series win Friday night when rookie Chase Elliott used fresher tires and a strong machine to move from the back of the pack to first place over the final two laps.Lesson learned.On Saturday night in the Sprint Cup race, Harvick took advantage of four new tires to pass Dal...

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Bubba’s back on top

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — One of golf’s most exciting players squeezed most of the drama out of the Masters on Sunday. That’s just fine with Bubba Watson.All he cared about was slipping into that green jacket.Instead of hitting a 40-yard hook out of a forest of Georgia pines — the signature shot in his playoff victory two years ago — the final act Sunday at Augusta National took place on the 18th green. Watson had a three-shot lead and consulted w...

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The problem isn’t ‘stepping on toes’

Gov. Pat McCrory seems to think that every time people in Raleigh have questions about one of his proposals, it is because he is courageously “stepping on toes” of people in entrenched institutions who refuse to consider doing things differently.McCrory used the line in a recent speech in Charlotte — where he seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time in recent weeks — talking about the lukewarm reception for his proposal to turn over the state’...

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Chamber of Commerce recognizes Sen. Walters

LUMBERTON — State Sen. Michael Walters, whose District 13 includes Robeson and Columbus counties, had no idea when he walked into the Pinecrest Country Club on Wednesday for a candidates forum sponsored by the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis and Rotary clubs that he would walk out the recipient of a newly established chamber award.Walters, who announced in January that he is not seeking re-election, was called to the podium by Bo Biggs, chairman of the local ch...

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New Hanover board to decide April 21 if Robeson gets deal

LUMBERTON — New Hanover County officials are still pondering whether to accept a contract with a solid waste disposal company that would collect and dispose of New Hanover trash in Robeson County’s landfill in St. Pauls.The agreement could result in Robeson County making an annual profit of between $2 million and $3 million.A New Hanover County spokesperson said last week that the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will discuss their trash issue at a m...

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RCC trustees ponder land deal Monday

LUMBERTON — Robeson Community College trustees are keeping their cards close on a proposal from COMtech Park that calls for the college to sell or trade some real estate it owns at the park’s entrance a Business Support Center can be established.“I don’t really know where this is going. I’ve been hearing some good arguments on both sides,” said George Regan, chairman of the board or trustees, which plans to consider COMtech’s request when i...

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That big lie on women earning less

To paraphrase the line often attributed to Mark Twain, there are lies, damn lies and the “equal pay” statistic.The factoid that women earn only 77 cents of every dollar earned by men is the focal point of a feminist cargo cult. It has its own movement and its own quasi-holiday, the so-called Equal Pay Day, marking how far into a new year women supposedly have to work to match what men made the prior year.The figure is presumed to clinch any debate over the co...

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