Patrick Holmes of Lenoir County Public Schools talks budgets, superintendents and early college

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In a new 13-minute interview, Lenoir County Public Schools public information director Patrick Holmes sheds light on the state budget crisis, iPads in the schools and the Lenoir County Early College program.

Holmes also talks about outgoing LCPS superintendent Dr. Steve Mazingo and incoming interim superintendent Brent Williams.

CLICK HERE to listen to the interview.

CLICK HERE for a recent interview with Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy.

We’d like to introduce new sponsor Blizzard’s Building Supply of Kinston. Located at 405 Walston Avenue in Kinston, Blizzard’s is a family owned business that has been going strong since it’s establishment in 1959. Personal service, quality products and competitive prices have helped Blizzard’s become a local institution. Whether your project is large or small, give Blizzard’s a call at (252) 523-5181.

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Sharks found at water park

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The recent rash of shark attacks along the North Carolina coast was at first believed to be a natural phenomenon.

“Some people thinks it’s down to water temperature or the over-harvesting of fish along the coast,” said Topher Grace of the NC Wildlife Commission. “My personal belief was that the salty residue from fast food packaging that ends up in our waterways had lured the sharks further inward. I mean, would you rather eat raw fish or a Big Mac?”

While the shark attacks have been a detriment to coastal commerce, water park memberships in NC have risen 300 percent over the last two months.

“We’ve had to hire extra lifeguards to keep up with all of our new members” said Kurtwood Smith of Point Place Water Park. “We haven’t had time to train them properly, so until they’re up to speed we’re having to keep water levels at a maximum of three-feet. It makes diving a challenge but safety is our main concern.”

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Sharks were discovered at Point Place Water Park in North Carolina. No charges have been filed.

One of the new members of the Point Place Water Park is retired investigator Laura Prepon.

“I’d planned to take my granddaughter to the beach but the shark attacks scared me off,” Prepon said. “Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first. We enjoyed our time at the Point Place Water Park but being a former cop I started to notice a disturbing pattern.”

Prepon said every Tuesday around noon an aggressively intoxicated woman would walk into the park office and leave five minutes later with a plastic Walmart bag stuffed with cash.

“It seemed odd that a person who could barely walk would be given a large sum of cash in a plastic bag,” Prepon said. “The woman seemed nice enough but on her way to her car I heard her belched every bit of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – including the guitar solo.”

The following Tuesday Prepon decided to follow the drunken psychedelic belcher.

“I followed her all the way to Emerald Isle,” Prepon said. “She parked at the Rogue Inlet Pier and pulled a large cooler on wheels from the back of her truck. Within a few minutes she made her way to the end of the pier. She propped up a fishing pole to blend in with the other fishermen, but when she thought no one was looking reached into her large cooler and tossed three sharks into the ocean.”

Prepon discovered the mystery shark lady was Paulette Burroughs, 39, of La Grange. A former concierge for the Kinston Free Press and seven-time girlfriend of Rick James, Burroughs currently holds the record for misdemeanors in North Carolina.

“Extortion, pyromania, cattle mutilation – this Burroughs character has done it all,” Prepon said. “This woman once shoplifted a waiter.”

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Paulette Burroughs of La Grange is suspected of transplanting sharks on the coast of North Carolina in a effort to boost water park memberships.

Surveillance photos Prepon took of the alleged shark dump were too fuzzy to be submitted as evidence, but late last week Burroughs incriminated herself in front of several witnesses. The following text was taken from a police report:

“The suspect (Burroughs) was observed acting in an erratic manor due to ingesting what toxicology reports indicate was a mixture of Budweiser and lighter fluid. Based on our investigation, Burroughs mistook the Point Place Water Park for Emerald Isle and dumped three sharks into the kiddie pool. The sharks were not aggressive due to Burroughs decision to share her drink with them.”

Witnesses reported children initially believing the docile sharks to be flotation devices left behind by the previous day’s patrons.

“My son ran up to me and said the shark float smelled like her daddy,” said Debra Jo Rupp of Kinston. “I walked over to take a look and realized it was a real shark. I was frightened for a second but then realized the shark was Otis-on-a-Saturday-night-in-Mayberry drunk. Somebody should really get that thing to a meeting.”

As of this writing the case is still under investigation.

Jon Dawson’s books available via the BOOKS link at the top of this page. Contact Jon at jon@thirdofnever.com.

We’d like to introduce new sponsor Blizzard’s Building Supply of Kinston. Located at 405 Walston Avenue in Kinston, Blizzard’s is a family owned business that has been going strong since it’s establishment in 1959. Personal service, quality products and competitive prices have helped Blizzard’s become a local institution. Whether your project is large or small, give Blizzard’s a call at (252) 523-5181.

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Album reviews: Kilbey/Kennedy and Dereck Higgins

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Album: Inside We Are The Same
Artist: Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy

Inside We Are The Same is the fourth collaboration from the duo of Steve Kilbey (The Church) and Martin Kennedy (All India Radio). From the outside this may look like a side project, but in reality this music rivals that of the participant’s day jobs.

Each of the previous releases in the Kilbey/Kennedy cannon have been stellar collections of dreamy, neo-psychedelic songs that would appeal to fans of The Church and All India Radio (and anyone with good taste). While another album in this vein would have been welcomed with open ears, Inside We Are The Same shows Kennedy exploring new musical avenues while Kilbey pushes his voice to a register that fans of The Church and his solo work may not be familiar with.

“Amenia” begins with a keyboard/guitar swell that sounds like Richard Wright sitting in with Radiohead. Just when it seems the song is headed for Pink Floydville, an angular guitar riff sparks the song into an accelerated affair. Kilbey sounds as if he’s reporting from the outer edge of a hurricane, relaying information in a slightly excited state.

Kilbey Kennedy on Amazon

The lusher side of German legends Cluster and Harmonia rear their head on “This Is The Universe”, a song that sounds as big as it’s subject matter. Kennedy’s genius as an arranger comes through as the seemingly sparse tune comes off as nearly symphonic in it’s effect. Kilbey’s lyric for the song finds him at his lysergic best, and even the dolts who only know him for “Under The Milky Way” will be sucked in.

As “Once” oozes like ether out of the last grooves of the vinyl, one has to wonder what Kibley and Kilbey eat for breakfast. If Inside We Are The Same weren’t enough, Kilbey just participated in the creation of possibly the greatest album The Church has ever recorded and Kennedy with All India Radio releases essential instrumental albums as if it were a bodily function. Whether it’s Vegimite or just plain old inspiration, here’s hoping they keep the brilliant albums coming.

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Album: Myths…Realities
Artist: Dereck Higgins

Dereck Higgins latest album Myths…Realities is a collection of previously unreleased material recorded between 1985 up through 2004. Committed to tape primarily via a 4-track cassette recorder, what looks like a hodgepodge on paper is in fact a cohesive borderline masterpiece.

Via his popular YouTube channel (search for “Dereckvon”), Higgins has been one of the greatest proponents of instrumental music of the last decade. Although Higgins’ discography touches on everything from punk and ambient to rock and jazz, Myths…Realities is a collection of exquisitely composed and performed music that is best described as cinematic.

Primarily known for his bass work, the diamond of this album is Higgins’ sublime guitar work. There are no orgies of shred to be found – which is a blessing. The choice of effects, the eerie beauty of the chord progressions and fluidity of the playing are reminiscent of the classic Echoes album by A.R. and Machines.

Playing all of the instruments, Higgins creates a hypnotic space groove on “Dickson Drive” that is fleshed out with sublime guitar tones that Steve Hackett would be envious of. “Happy Today” is an uplifting yet still edgy extension of krautrock that fans of Michael Rother should embrace.

Music lovers on the hunt for something new seem to need comparisons to get an idea of what an artist has to offer, but Myths…Realities is a truly original work. Higgins proudly wears his influences on his sleeve, but there is more than enough of his own DNA in the mix to create something new. This is a fascinating, emotive work that can only help grow the already sizable cult following Dereck Higgins has amassed.

Myths…Realities was issued on limited edition vinyl and word has it that most of those copies are gone. For the curious, visit dereckhiggins.bandcamp.com to sample the album.

During his six years at the Kinston Free Press, Jon Dawson won 11 North Carolina Press Association Awards for his music criticism and humor columns. If you’d like to submit and album for review, email jon@thirdofnever.com.

Wolfgang Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot

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According to a member of Van Halen’s road crew, Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang has been tapped to replace Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot.

“Wolfie enjoys being in a band with his dad and uncle but didn’t realize what he was in for with David Lee Roth,” the roadie said late Wednesday. “How would you like to be in a band with a vocalist who looks like Carol Channing with an Adam’s Apple and sings like Don Knotts on peyote? The new Van Halen live album is great but the vocals sound like a winded Vin Scully calling a Dodgers game in a hurricane.”

Michael Anthony is reportedly leaving Chickenfoot to devote more time to his hot sauce company.

Restaurant for dogs opens in Kinston

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His, hers fire hydrants provided for canines

The efforts to revitalize downtown Kinston continue with the opening of a new restaurant designed for dogs.

“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” said Belly Rub Cafe’ owner/operator Elliot Gould. “The whole world is going to the dogs, so I figure they needed their own restaurant.”

Gould, 44, studied veterinary medicine at N.C. State yet could never fully commit to becoming a veterinarian.

“To be honest, I really don’t like cats,” Gould said. “As it turns out, lots of people bring their cats to the vet. I interned at a vet’s office in Zebulon for a few months, and it was every day with the cats. I used to volunteer to assist in birthing calves or treating boa constrictors for STDs just to get away from that office full of smug, repugnant cats.”

Gould’s dislike of cats eventually led to a diagnosis of ailurophobia — an irrational fear of cats.

“The ailurophobia eventually derailed my career as a veterinarian,” Gould said. “I ended up in the food service industry, managing a string of Quincy’s Steakhouses throughout the Carolinas. Quincy’s CEO Jack Klugman and I had a good working relationship for many years — although he was a bit of a slob.”

Even though the restaurant business was good to him, Gould still had an itch to work with animals. After watching a “Lassie” marathon on Nick-At-Nite a few years ago, Gould got the idea to create a restaurant that would cater to dogs.

“We’ve got some great restaurants in Kinston right now, and a lot of the people frequenting those establishments are dog owners,” Gould said. “The idea behind the Belly Rub Cafe’ is simple: While you’re enjoying a fine meal at a great Kinston restaurant, drop off your dog with us so he or she can do the same.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ menu boasts exotic fare such as a bacon bar, peanut butter biscuits, beef stew and Alpo pate’, all washed down with fresh spring water served in miniature replicas of toilet bowls. When nature calls, his and her fire hydrants are available in front of the restaurant.  Televisions in every corner of the restaurant will feature movies by Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Lassie and Sarah Jessica Parker on a continuous loop.

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“Our bar is stocked with dozens of imported K-9 beers, including Chihuahua, Bulldog and Vienna Dog,” Gould said. “We’ve even got Amorous Doberman and Mailman’s Tears on tap.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ has a strict no-licking policy, although there is a licking area provided on an adjacent patio.

Jon Dawson’s books available through the “BOOKS” link at the top of the page or http://www.amazon.com. Contact Jon at jon@thirdofnever.com.

Jon Dawson: Musician, Writer, Trophy Husband