Downtown development spurs interest – Rocky Mount Telegram

Rocky Mount Downtown Development Manager John Jesso updated the City Council on Monday on recent and upcoming projects in the center city.

“There has been a lot of activity,” Jesso said. “There has been a lot of conversation being had about downtown Rocky Mount.”

During the Committee of the Whole meeting, Jesso showed officials a map of developments in various historic properties, adding the progress of the Monk to Mill trail and proposed downtown community facility has spurred much interest and investment.

There have been 11 new investments, four properties with recent owner reinvestments and there are nine projects that are in negotiations. He added that interested developers are putting together a variety of mixed-use projects with restaurants, retail spaces and residential developments. (Source: Read more)

School board OKs rentals of Pope Elementary facilities – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: Interesting. So since there are parts of the school that is good enough to be able to use, then why not tear down the part that can’t be used and replace it? Just asking!

The Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education still is mulling the final fate of O.R. Pope Elementary School, but the school board voted last week to give the facility a new lease on life in the interim.

The school board voted unanimously to allow the gymnasiums, cafeteria and media center of Pope Elementary to be made available to the public for rental purposes.

The school originally was closed more than a year ago because of serious safety concerns regarding the main structure. During a presentation last month, Dr. Eric Cunningham, associate superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, pointed out several other challenges with Pope Elementary School that made it fail to meet N.C. Department of Public Instruction guidelines and thus rendered the facility unsuitable for school use. (Source: Read more)

Lawmaker’s attempt to require referendum on event center fails – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: Again it makes no sense that Rep. Collins is trying to push the good ole boys agenda in Rocky Mount trying to keep the current City Council from moving forward with certain projects. It was no problem when the council was a white majority. It appears Collins joined the Community Council and some others whom are trying to discredit the current council.

Local and state officials are delighted a bill meant to limit event center construction financing has failed in the N.C. House.

Not happy is N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, who tried to push through legislation in the N.C. General Assembly’s final days of this session that would have required a referendum vote on the proposed $32 million downtown community facility in Rocky Mount.

The bill was introduced in the N.C. House Rules Committee as an add-on to previously considered S.B. 363, which dealt with expanding food service at public events. The committee voted unanimously against the bill late Monday night.

Collins said he was disheartened the bill failed via a text message interview Tuesday. (Source: Read more)

Pinetops NC – Tarboro High Vikings Travel To SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars For Homecoming Showdown Monday September 28, 2015 7:00 PM

All roads lead to Pinetops on Monday evening for the showdown. Tarboro vs SouthWest Edgecombe Homecoming 2015.

You don’t want to miss this one. Tell a neighbor tell a friend it is going down!

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SWE vs Tarboro JV Game Wednesday September 23, 2015


School-split referendum stays on hold – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: Collins is just pushing the good ole boys agenda. And what is so funny the Community Council claim they didn’t know that Collins was trying to put this on the NCGA agenda. Yeah right!

RALEIGH – Officials seeking a referendum for a possible split of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools along county lines will have to wait until next year.

N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, planned to introduce legislation calling for a referendum this session but ran out of time. He said he will take up the effort in next year’s short session, set to begin about April.

The time also gives Collins a chance to shore up the wording in the bill. He previously said he wanted to make sure the legislation was as lawsuit-proof as possible.

Local officials continue to argue about funding formulas, which brought about the desire by members of the Nash County Board of Commissioners to seek a dissolution of the 1992 N.C. General Assembly action that combined Nash and Rocky Mount school districts.

Collins said he wants a referendum on the school split because he doesn’t want to be the one to split the system, he wants the people to decide. (Source: Read more)

Weekly Update – Friday, September 25, 2015 – Senator Erica Smith-Ingram


In Raleigh…

McCrory signs Medicaid privatization bill (Raleigh News & Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory signed a major overhaul of the state’s Medicaid system into law Wednesday.

Jobs incentives bill heads to McCrory (Raleigh News & Observer) — The N.C. House took a final 78-24 vote Wednesday to replenish the state’s main incentives fund to recruit jobs, sending the measure to Gov. Pat McCrory.

Pending bills will mean big changes for NC voters (WRAL-TV) — North Carolina primaries will be moved to a March 15 under a bill previewed by lawmakers Wednesday. A separate bill would label all judicial candidates on a ballot with their partisan affiliation, although elections would remain nonpartisan.

N.C. judge allows voter ID lawsuit to continue (AP) — A judge on Wednesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s photo identification requirement to vote that starts next year, even though lawmakers recently eased the mandate for some without IDs wishing to cast ballots.

Leaders tout economic impact of gas pipeline (Rocky Mount Telegram) — An interstate natural gas pipeline running beneath Nash County would be an economic boon to the area, according to local and state officials.

NCC brewing program launches with new instructor (Rocky Mount Telegram) — With the launch of Nash Community College’s Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation Associate Degree program this semester, students are enrolled in classes such as BDF 111 Sanitation and Safety and BDF 114 Craft Beer Brewing.

Learn Like a Girl (EdNC) — The North Carolina Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for United Nations Women held its second annual learning and engagement luncheon yesterday at the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh. The event, “Learn Like a Girl: Gender, Education, Empowerment,” covered a wide-range of issues and challenges facing young women, both locally and globally, from human trafficking to online sexual harassment.

Report: N.C. Minority-Owned Businesses Bouncing Back from Recession (Public News Service) — Minority-owned businesses are rebounding following the Great Recession, according to a new report by The Institute, an organization that aims to expand and diversify North Carolina’s business base.

Stein steps into 2016 AG race (WRAL-TV) — A day before a series of appearances across the state, state Sen. Josh Stein announced Sunday via an email to supporters that he’s running for attorney general in 2016.

Obama has vastly changed the face of the federal bureaucracy (Washington Post) — Women, minorities and gay Americans are now occupy top posts in record numbers.

Contact Information


NC Senate District 3


Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell and Washington Counties

919-715-3040 (O); 919-754-3344 (F)



Carly Fiorina Really Was That Bad – The New York Times

HER silver tongue honed by decades in corporate marketing, Carly Fiorina has used two debates, and a steely determination on the campaign trail, to climb near the top of the polls for the Republican nomination.

But Americans should pause on her biggest professional credential for our highest office: a short, disastrous stint atop one of America’s iconic technology companies, Hewlett-Packard.

The clearest measure of her performance — and the report card preferred by Wall Street — is H.P.’s stock price, which dropped by 52 percent during her tenure of almost six years. (Source: Read more)

Black motorcycle dealer threatened into backing out of Justice Or Else? Justice or Else

LOS ANGELES – Many different groups and organizations are rallying and making preparations for the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March themed “Justice Or Else!”, including bikers who were planning to travel across the country and meet at the Harley-Davidson dealership owned by Thomas Moorehead in Fort Washington, Md., right outside of D.C., until he withdrew the invitation, according to a staff person who did not want to be identified.

Mr. Moorhead changed his mind about allowing Bikers Ride for Justice Or Else,” also known as “Ride for Justice” to gather at his dealership en route to the Oct. 10 gathering  after a backlash. It included an online petition condemning Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan by repeating false charges of advocating violence. The lie has been repeated in right wing media and in some social media circles. In its 85-year history in the U.S., there have been no instances of unprovoked attacks on Whites or killing of Whites by members of the Nation of Islam. However there are cases of White police officers attacking, killing, falsely arresting and jailing Muslims since the 1930s. (Source: Read more)

Tarboro NC: SouthWest Edgecombe JV vs Tarboro Football Wednesday September 23, 2015

SouthWest Edgecombe JV vs Tarboro

I arrived at the game with about 5 minutes to play in the 2nd quarter.
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Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life! by William Reed Columnist

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life!

“Get your Mind Right” is a term used to tell someone to get it together and start using their brain. Successful people have “yes I can” attitudes and outlooks.  “I can do it” are postures Blacks needs to use more effectively. Black Washingtonians will get a generous dose of “the power of positive thinking,” when the “Get Motivated Business Seminar” happens in Washington Tuesday September 22 at the Warner Theatre.  The day-long seminar training program features Les Brown and Washington-native Willie Jolley.

Willie Jolly is a D.C.-based entrepreneur that preaches and practices the power of positive thinking.  Based on the premise: “Think good thoughts and good things will surely follow,” both Brown and Jolley say their business seminars will take you to the next level of success, and that attendance will give patrons proven strategies to sharpen business skills, effectiveness and multiply your capabilities.

Some say African Americans have a “victim mentality” and lack personality traits deemed necessary for achievement endeavors.  Some blacks have been “faking it.”  But, they can gain confidence, heightened self-awareness and “stick to it until you make it” attitudes and outlooks from Dr. Jolley’s high energy, enthusiastic presentations on how to live a better life.   Though blacks have a right to righteous anger, most of us need new and healthier way of thinking and acting that lifts each of us and our race.  Jolley’s programs encourage, enlighten and enliven.

Willie Jolley has strong musical talents.  The personable entrepreneur uses his public platform to encourage people to rise above their circumstances to maximize their God-given potential.  Jolley’s presentations lay out guidelines for success.  In life, Jolley has come from being a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine, to president/CEO of Willie Jolley Worldwide, a top player in the $10 billion self-improvement industry of programs and products to improve clientele physically, mentally, financially or spiritually.

Son of a freelance newspaper reporter and a high school social studies teacher grew up in Washington, D.C., Jolly began singing in church and at parties, and soon formed a singing group which became a local sensation.  Though the singing group broke up, Jolley continued on as a solo vocalist, singing jingles for companies such as Pizza Hut and Black Entertainment Television.  A talented performer, Jolley has recorded dozens of commercials and songs singing background vocals for artists such as Jean Carne and Phyllis Hyman. Jolley’s voice is still featured in TV and radio jingles.

Likable “Willie” holds a Doctorate of Ministry Degree from the California Graduate School of Theology, a Master Degree in Theology from Wesley Theological seminary and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from American University.  Jolley places great emphasis on individual growth and the collective development of black communities.  Jolley states that “It’s not important how much time you have; the key is what you do with the time you’re given.”

The Get Motivated Business Seminar can help patrons go from “I wish I could do that” musings into reality.  The series can help blacks connect self-esteem and achievement.  The other distinguished presenter in the seminar series is Leslie Calvin “Les” Brown an author, radio DJ, former television host, and politician. As a politician, he was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.  If there is anyone that could walk around with a “woe is me” outlook, Les Brown was it.  Born into dire circumstances Brown was subsequently adopted by a single black woman who worked as a cafeteria attendant and domestic but gave him a sense of self-worth.  Les’ sense of self-esteem gained him an Emmy for his works on television after he’d left Ohio’s legislature,

Nobody will be mad at you feeling and appearing “full of yourself.”  Blacks can move up in society simply by using the power and initiative of positive thinking. A positive person anticipates happiness, is aware of and works on health and believes he or she can overcome any obstacle or difficulty.  Blacks can grow by positive thinking that allows greater cooperation among African Americans to network talents and skills to create wealth and economic goals.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

Senator Erica Smith-Ingram Outlines the 2015-17 Budget Plan



Tuesday — September 22, 2015
Senator Erica Smith-Ingram Outlines the 2015-17 Budget Plan

Raleigh, NC – On Friday, by a vote of 118–36, the NC General Assembly (the Senate and House combined) voted on the biennial budget. With any budget, there are good appropriations and not enough attention to some issues. The ratified budget was made available on yesterday, and I am reaching out to you today to share with you some highlights and targets for future work.  As your Senator, I voted for this budget because it is a progressive plan that will move District 3 and the State of North Carolina forward. While I didn’t like the $750 one-time bonus for state employees and teachers, the only other option was nothing at all.  Main Street Democrats will work diligently during the short-session in May to dedicate budget surplus revenues to fund a significant pay raise for teachers and state employees. While it is not a perfect budget, I sincerely believe that northeastern North Carolina is better served with this budget than the previous version. I am particularly proud of the State Broadband, Driver’s Education funding, NCWorks and the portions of the budget in which I was most directly involved.

District Benefits

· Broadband – The bill that I introduced, S615 – Rural Broadband Infrastructure that tasks the state CIO, through its Office of Digital Infrastructure, and with the assistance of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Administration, the Department of Commerce, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was placed in this year’s budget. This portion of the bill will develop a State broadband plan that ensures all citizens of North Carolina access to broadband capability.  It further develops a statewide strategic plan that promotes a robust broadband infrastructure.  Additionally, $14 million over the biennium is being invested to insure connectivity in all of our schools.

· Distribution Sales Tax for Economic Development – All of the counties in District 3 receive additional sales tax revenue: a combined total of at minimum $10 million for District 3.

· Historic Preservation Tax Credit – Restored and appropriated $8 million to invest in revitalization especially in our rural areas.

  • Elizabeth City State University – $3 million is appropriated per year for stabilization funds to Elizabeth City State University.
  • Grassroots Science Program – Funds appropriated to the Department of Commerce for Tier 1 counties awarding grants to science museums located in economically distressed areas.

· Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Lake Maintenance Fund – This will be a significant step in addressing the hydrilla and dredging issues in several counties of our District.

Statewide Benefits

· Department of Military and Veterans Affairs – Providing the necessary tools and resources for veterans who have served our country and protected our freedom. Appropriations for the biennium is $17,343,249.

· Deleted Harmful Provision Ending Retirement Health Benefits for State Employees Hired After January 1, 2016 – The previous version

· NCWorks – NC Works Career Coach Program to place community college career coaches in high schools to assist students with determining career goals and identifying community college programs that would enable students to achieve these goals

· Eugenics Compensation Payments – Qualified recipients will receive compensation. (added this)

· $300 million for economic development grants – Implemented through various provisions including restored appropriations for minority and small-businesses and Community Development Block Grants.

Criminal Justice

· State Highway Patrol Beginning July 1, 2015, the salaries of all sworn members of the State Highway Patrol were increased by three percent (3%) as well as the starting pay for an entry-level position in the State Highway Patrol is increased by three percent (3%).

· Body-Worn Cameras – Provides $2.5 million for matching grants to local and county law enforcement agencies to purchase and place into service body-worn video cameras and for training and related expenses

· Budget funds mental health reforms in some prisons – A projected $12 million over the next two years is appropriated to expand the mental health facility at Central Prison in Raleigh and create eight treatment units at maximum-security prisons across the state. This funding will provide for 218 new positions within these new facilities, with hiring divided roughly in half between 2015 and 2016.


· Teacher Pay – Allocation of approximately $313 million for compensation increases to State employees including a $750 bonus for all state employees and step increases to teachers, assistant principals, principals, State Highway Patrol Troopers, clerks and magistrates. I will work diligently during the short-session in May to dedicate budget surplus revenues to fund a more significant and comprehensive pay raise for teachers and state employees.

· Driver’s Education Funding – I sponsored a Driver’s Education bill, S515, and am proud to see that part of this budget includes my bill. It funds driver’s education programs to all physically and mentally qualified persons who are older than 14 years and six months, are approved by the principal of the school, are enrolled in public, private or homeschooled high school within the State and have not previously enrolled in the program.

· Teacher Assistant Allotments – I worked tirelessly in advocating for Teacher Assistants to remain in our budget. I am especially proud that my and other legislators’ efforts were successful. The budget provides local school administrative units the dollar equivalent of teacher assistant positions.

· Nonpermanent Retirees Returning May Retain Their Coverage – retirees returning to work for the State may retain their coverage options under the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees


Contact Information


NC Senate District 3


Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell and Washington Counties

919-715-3040 (O); 919-754-3344 (F)



P. Angelicia Simmons, Legislative Assistant
Office of Senator Erica Smith-Ingram

Room 1118, State Legislative Building
NC Senate  – District 3
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-715-3040 (p)

919-754-3344 (f)

Subscribe to Senator Erica Smith-Ingram’s newsletter by clicking here

Event center referendum effort stalls in legislature – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: Get the over it! It was okay when the white majority council did everything they wanted to do! I say to this council continue to move forward without the support of the die hard ignant racist folk and ignant black folk. Make it happen!

RALEIGH – It was not for a lack of trying Thursday that a Nash County lawmaker was thwarted in his efforts to push through legislation that would give residents a vote on the proposed $32 million downtown community facility.

“The people should be able to vote whether they want this event center,” N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, said between meetings Thursday. “Anytime you’re dealing with something with this much expenditure, people should vote on it.”

The bill Collins attempted to introduce in the N.C. House Rules Committee would require a referendum before bonds could be issued for event center projects. Collins was attempting to add his measure that also states bonds could not be issued for event centers within 18 months of a property tax revaluation to Senate Bill 363, sponsored by N.C. Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, that would expand outdoor food service at public events. (Source: Read more)

Freedmen’s convention sparked desire for equal rights – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: This is some kind of interesting!

Sept. 16 marked 150 years since over 1,500 African-Americans, most of whom were just five months freed from slavery, gathered in a mass meeting in Tarboro to elect Edgecombe County delegates to a statewide Freedmen’s Convention that convened Sept. 29, 1865 in Raleigh.

In August 1865, a mass meeting of African-Americans in New Bern appointed a committee led by Abraham Galloway, a runaway slave and former spy for the Union army, to issue a call for a statewide convention of freed people.

They called on African-Americans to gather in each county and elect delegates to the Raleigh convention. Edgecombe County was one of 10 counties where mass meetings to elect delegates were held. (Source: Read more)

John Boehner’s resignation sparks succession fight – CNN

The Political Agitator’s response: Evil can’t last always. There comes a time when change will occur because things have been so ignant for so long. The ignance may continue but it will be coming from someone else.

Washington (CNN)
John Boehner’s
sudden resignation is launching an unexpected leadership battle in Congress that may be a turning point for Republicans, likely pitting the establishment wing against tea party conservatives.

The Ohio Republican, who has served as the Speaker of the House since 2011, told colleagues in a closed-door gathering Friday morning that he would leave at the end of October, sending shockwaves through the chamber.

Even as Boehner’s fellow lawmakers were still digesting the news, the speculation over who would succeed him had already begun. One person who is naturally next in line is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but this could be a moment for the tea party to make a splash. (Source: Read more)