Apr 262013




Kenny Garrett (Photo by Keith Major)

Kenny Garrett (Photo by Keith Major)


Friday, April 26, 2013

Hidden within the notes that will echo throughout Greenville this weekend is a history lesson.

Beyond the sheer entertainment value provided by the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival, which reaches an acme today and Saturday, the event provides a learning opportunity about the roots of a key part of American culture.

This year’s event — the 10th annual under the Billy Taylor name, but which has been in existence for more than 20 years — will feature guest artists Kenny Garrett, a Grammy-award winning saxophonist and flutist and Arthur Dawkins, former director of jazz studies at Howard University. Both have played key roles in furthering the genre while keeping its history alive.

In addition to his work helping to build the program at Howard, Dawkins was one of the first African-American musical contractors in the Washington D.C.-metropolitan area, working in that position for one of the region’s premier theater’s, the Arena Stage, for more than 25 years.

Garrett’s history includes work as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and five years in Miles Davis’ band. He won a Grammy with the Five Peace Band for its self-titled live CD. He received two Grammy nominations this year for his album “Seeds From the Underground” and performed at this year’s awards show. Though he has worked to create his own memorable sound, that has not entailed separating himself from his past.

“In most conversations, Miles Davis’ name is going to come up,” Garrett said. “I think for me, I’ve been plugging away, creating my own music and I think people, even though they associate me with Miles, they can see that I have a large body of work. It’s always good to kind of go back and reflect on Miles and the lessons he taught us, to be your own person. So I’m just trying to create my own body of music.

“I’ll always be associated with Miles. I’m not trying to distance myself from that, it’s part of my history.”

Garrett will give a clinic to ECU students tonight, giving him a chance to impart some of the wisdom that has been passed down to him. Dawkins will do the same at 11 this morning.

“They get to exchange musical ideas with working world-class musicians,” said Carroll Dashiell, the director of the festival and professor of bass at ECU. “From a historical perspective, it’s really a lineage and the only way the lineage is passed on is if we actually have that one-to-one transfer. This gives the students an opportunity to reach out and touch and talk to these artists that they see performing on MTV, BET and all of that. Kenny Garrett is a multi-award winner. Just the historical perspective of being able to pass that lineage on, saying ‘this is what Miles Davis did when we played in Italy,’ ‘this is what Miles Davis did on his last recording’ that’s great.”

Garrett has worked with students in the past and is eager to do the same at ECU.

“It’s always interesting to see what level they are and see if I can impart some information to them,” he said. “I’m always open to that. Sometimes you find some good students and you give them information and it kind of opens them up.”

After working with the students, Dawkins will play saxophone with ECU’s Jazz Ensemble A and Vocal Ensemble tonight. Garrett will perform with the Kenny Garrett Quintet on Saturday as the Billy Taylor Jazz Fest finale.

“That’s how we really have to keep what I call ‘America’s classical music’ — one of America’s only true original art forms: Jazz — here in the United States,” Dashiell said of the performances. “It’s one of the best ways to keep that tradition going.

“So many of our European friends and our brothers and sisters around the world know more about our American jazz than we do. This is a great way to make it an educational thing, but also an entertaining experience too. “

Contact Natalie Sayewich at nsayewich@reflector.com or 252-329-9596.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 262013


Published: April 25, 2013 Updated 3 hours ago

By Anne Blythe — ablythe@newsobserver.com

HILLSBOROUGH — Laurence Alvin Lovette will go before an Orange County judge on Friday to be sentenced a second time for murdering Eve Carson, the 2008 UNC-Chapel Hill student body president.

Lovette, 22, will have a chance to call witnesses in an effort to persuade a judge that he should not have to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors, however, will present evidence arguing Lovette should receive the same life sentence without parole handed down on Dec. 20, 2011, when a jury found him guilty of kidnapping, robbery and premeditated murder.

It was unclear what evidence Lovette plans to introduce at the hearing on Friday. Efforts to reach his attorney, Karen Bethea-Shields, on Thursday were unsuccessful.

The case was sent back for a new sentencing hearing by the state Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in another homicide case involving a teenager.

The country’s highest court ruled in June 2012 that an automatic sentence of life without possibility of parole for people who were younger than 18 when the murder occurred was “cruel and unusual punishment” and a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Teens, as many in the juvenile justice system point out, do not have fully developed brains, causing some to be at risk for a lack of impulse control.

States were forced to change laws because of that ruling.

In North Carolina, a judge now must hold a sentencing hearing to consider mitigating factors before issuing a life sentence with no possibility for parole if the person convicted of premeditated murder was younger than 18 at the time of the crime.

Although the case ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court was nearly 13 months after Lovette’s trial, the state Court of Appeals ordered his sentencing to be heard again because the case was still on appeal and the life sentence not yet finalized.

A teen at the time

Lovette was 17 in March 2008, when prosecutors contend he and DeMario Atwater kidnapped Carson, 22, from her home early in the morning. The men forced the accomplished student leader into the backseat of her SUV, drove her to ATMs and withdrew cash from her account.

Carson’s body was found near dawn in the middle of the street in a wooded Chapel Hill neighborhood about a mile from her home and the UNC campus. She had been shot four times with a handgun and once with a shotgun. Atwater, who is serving life in prison, for murder, kidnapping, robbery and carjacking, fired the shotgun. Lovette fired the first four shots, investigators said.

Jim Woodall, the district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties, described Lovette as a “brutal murderer” from whom the public needed to be protected.

He also faces a murder charge in Durham for the 2008 homicide of Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student found dead in his Durham home several months before the Carson homicide.

Woodall urged the judge to give the harshest sentences allowed in the Carson murder.

Sentence was mandatory

At the time Judge Allen Baddour sentenced Lovette to life in prison without possibility for parole, it was mandatory in cases of first-degree murder. The judge tacked on at least 28 more years for kidnapping and robbery.

Baddour has the discretion to enter a lighter sentence, but nothing harsher.

The three-judge state Court of Appeals sent only the murder conviction back for resentencing, leaving the sentences for kidnapping and robbery in place.

Since his conviction, Lovette has been incarcerated for the most part in Lanesboro Correctional Institution, a 1,000-cell maximum security prison in Anson County.

His prison record shows two infractions – one in March 2012 for possessing drugs or alcohol or failing a drug test, and the most recent in August 2012 for possession of “an audio or video device,” which is language prison officials use to indicate a cell phone.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

via HILLSBOROUGH: Lovette faces resentencing in 2008 murder of UNC-CH student | Crime | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 262013


Letter  Published: April 25, 2013

UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp stated that dealing with intercollegiate athletics is the most important part of the job (“Thorp: Give reins to athletic directors,” April 21). This is 100 percent wrong.

UNC’s mission is education and research, not sports and entertainment. If sports has become more important than academics, then it is time to completely redress the balance. UNC’s balance should be 0 percent sports, 100 percent education and research.

Marcus Henry


via Marcus Henry: UNC’s focus wrong | Letters to the Editor | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 262013



Friday, April 26, 2013

As an avid reader of The News & Observer, I was not surprised to see UNC-Chapel Hill under review in the newspaper yet again.

However, the articles “Honored UNC tutor: Steering students ‘still happening’ ” and “Thorp: Give reins to athletic directors” on April 19 intrigued me.

As a college student, I find it imperative that every student receive a quality education. The Thorp article lost its fervor when it began to discuss Carolina’s school spirit instead of continuing to challenge the issue at hand. No matter how many ballgames you win or how much money athletics gross in trademarks, UNC-Chapel Hill still has a significant problem with failing athletes.

I appreciate the other article for presenting the issue at hand and allowing readers to get a true sense of how it affects the athletes and their futures. At this point, the issue should not be sugarcoated. UNC Chapel-Hill needs to be held accountable for its inability to provide a “real education” for all students.

Chelsea Gardner


via Chelsea Gardner: UNC failed students | Letters to the Editor | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 262013



Published: April 25, 2013

I am outraged by the suggestions coming out of the College Sports Research Institute conference (April 19) and the ongoing controversy at UNC-Chapel Hill that collegiate sports programs (in effect commercial undertakings) are worthy of being placed on equal footing with the academic mission of UNC-Chapel Hill.

During this past year of embarrassing revelations, Chancellor Holden Thorp has spoken of athletics and academics as two separate cultures. That description also outrages me. It is a travesty to put the academic role of a university on equal footing with a commercially oriented program that pays huge salaries (that are an insult to academic professionals) to sports professionals and “hires” athletes who cannot meet the entry qualifications of the institution nor perform academically. During their time (often brief, as they soon move on to professional sports), they often live a lie by being enrolled in classes that have no content.

As residents of North Carolina, we need to think about the purpose of institutions of higher education. Are they to provide the means of preparing for lives of usefulness and fulfillment– or an afternoon or evening (whatever time fits TV schedules) of football or basketball?

Elizabeth S. Ryan

Chapel Hill

via Elizabeth S. Ryan: Sports a travesty | Letters to the Editor | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 252013


By Bobby Burns and Jane Dail

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A geography student and fraternity member at ECU was killed early Wednesday morning when he fell from a tree and was impaled on a metal fence post.

Jonathon Scott Bennett, 21, of Wilson died about 1 a.m. in the woods behind University Manor apartments on East 10th Street, just west of Port Terminal Road, according to Greenville police.
Bennett and four friends were walking across a large downed tree. He fell six to eight feet onto the post, part of a wire debris fence police said possibly was left from the construction of the apartments several years ago.

He and his friends had been drinking, police determined in their investigation. The group was making its way back to the apartment complex when a branch Bennett was holding broke.

“It’s a horrible, horrible accident,” Burrell Montz, chairwoman of Department of Geography at East Carolina University, said. “There’s nothing to blame but bad luck.”

“Things like that shouldn’t happen,” Montz said. “It was just tragic news. I was dumbfounded when I read it.”

Bennett was a bright student in the department, Montz said. He was ECU’s “ace” at the North Carolina Geo Bowl, a competition among the geography departments in the state.

Montz said she got to know Bennett about a year ago when he changed his major from biochemistry. He combined strong technical abilities with a love for geography to excel in the department.

He shined in the state competition, she said.

“He was our guy on Geo Bowl. He knew everything, she said. “The Geo Bowl experience, it’s demanding, it’s tense and he was a real star.”

He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity who enrolled at ECU in the fall of 2010. He was pursuing a bachelor of science degree in geographic information science and technology.

It was unclear on Wednesday if he lived at University Manor. ECU said Wilson was listed as his permanent address. His mother has been a teacher with Pitt County Schools for four years, according to the school system.

Police and Greenville Fire-Rescue responded to University Manor and used cutting tools to remove Bennett and the post from the ground.

The tree is located about 30 yards into the woods, which stretch from the rear of the complex north to the Tar River.

It is accessible by a foot-worn path down a steep embankment and through thick brush.

The tree had fallen onto the wire fence.

Several green, T-shaped metal fence posts stood out from crumpled wire about four feet into the tree’s branches. One post was cut about eight inches from the ground on Wednesday morning.

Greenville police code enforcement officers visited the scene about 8 a.m. to determine if the tree was on open land or posed a code violation. That process is ongoing, Lt. Richard Allsbrook said at the scene.

Property managers at the apartment complex also are investigating the incident, Clark Terry of University Manor said at the scene.

Detectives from the Greenville Police Major Crimes and Special Victims units found from their interviews that the friends had been drinking alcohol and were hanging out on the fallen tree, police spokesman Sgt. Joe Friday reported.

As the group was headed back to the apartment complex, Bennett was holding on to a branch above him and walking another branch. The branch above broke and gave way, an Bennett fell to the ground, Friday reported.

The post impaled Bennett from the lower left back to the upper right chest. His friends attempted to render first aid but were not successful.

Detectives believe Bennett died almost instantaneously. An autopsy will be performed.

Residents at the apartments on Wednesday morning were boarding ECU transit buses, and others were getting in cars to go to class and to work.

Police and rescue vehicles had caught their attention the night before, but several residents Wednesday morning said they did not know what had happened.

Residents sometimes hike in the woods, two students heading to their car near the scene said, but swampy conditions prevent long excursions.

Shawn Babine, chief executive officer of the Tau Kappa Epsilon national organization, said in a news release that Bennett will be greatly missed.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire TKE nation go out to the Bennett family and the East Carolina University community,” Babine said. “Jonathon was a wonderful TKE man through and through, holding the ideals of charity, esteem and love throughout his life.”

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 252013



Published: April 24, 2013

By Jim Jenkins — jim.jenkins@newsobserver.com

It’s easy to understand why Holden Thorp, outgoing chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, would suggest, as he did to The News & Observer’s Jane Stancill, that perhaps chancellors and university presidents would do well to step back from oversight of major athletic programs. Thorp, a faculty star at the university before becoming chancellor five years ago, is leaving for Washington University in St. Louis at least in part because of athletics and academic scandal that came to light on his watch.

For two years now, The N&O has reported on a football program run amok, and an academic department, African studies, that seemed to be a favorite stop for athletes who fancied the idea of courses with no lectures and only a paper due at semester’s end. The academic advising system for those athletes seemed to encourage less-than-challenging course work.

It is no understatement to say the entire mess has been a monumental embarrassment for a university that often boasted of it’s squeaky-clean, high standards for athletes, calling it the “Carolina Way.” Turned out “Wrong Way” would have been more accurate.

So now, nearing his June 30 departure in favor of Carol Folt of Dartmouth College, Thorp seems to be pondering how athletics ought to be supervised in the future. Stancill reported he had told Folt that handling athletics had become the most important part of the chancellor’s job.

“That’s not right that it’s that way,” he said. Certainly he’s correct about that. But the notion he expressed in The N&O report, that perhaps the athletics program should be more in the control of athletics directors to free chancellors for more important duty, is woefully misguided. A lack of control from the top, the top being the chancellor’s or president’s office, is what has gotten entirely too many universities in trouble.

Athletics programs at schools the size of Chapel Hill have become behemoths, with many schools building palaces for basketball and football, including something that’s particularly distasteful at public schools, luxury skyboxes for wealthy boosters. Driving this “movement,” a nickname for it more distinguished than it ought to be, is huge revenue from television contracts that now dictate playing schedules and the push for longer schedules and more games.

Big revenue sport coaches at such schools, including UNC-CH, are making in the millions. But to earn their keep, they need players, star players, often players who have gotten special treatment in high school and even before, and who have for so long concentrated on perfecting their sport that they haven’t bulked up much when it comes to academic muscle.

In a conversation with the late William Friday, UNC system president emeritus and one of the most respected figures in the history of American higher education, I asked him about those salaries. He noted with dismay that top assistant football coaches at Chapel Hill made more than faculty members with the most prestigious special professorships.

Friday’s solution for such an outrageous misplaced priority was quite the opposite from Thorp’s. As co-chair of Knight Commission, a watchdog of big-time athletics, Friday believed presidents and chancellors needed to exercise more control, not less. Schedules needed to be shorter, not longer. Academic requirements needed to be higher, not lower. Skyboxes needed to be eliminated, not doubled. For a long time, it seemed no one was listening.

And then came scandal, at one school after another. Southern California. Ohio State. Finally, UNC-Chapel Hill. Suddenly, the man to whom few seemed to pay attention was awash in it. Literally hundreds of people wrote and called to say, “They should have listened, Mr. Friday. You were right all along.” He responded not with satisfaction, but with dismay. “No joy in that,” he told me.

Thorp is a gifted scholar and a brilliant man and a loyal son of Carolina. Wounded by athletics scandal (and headed to a school without a “big time” program) he undoubtedly ventures his opinion as a way to spare others what happened to him. But future chancellors can save themselves from problems with athletics by following Friday’s exhortation instead. Don’t hand the reins to someone else. Pull them, and pull them hard and make it clear to coaches and athletics administrators that embarrassment and scandal will bring swift reaction and dismissal. Have it understood as well that the buck stops with the chancellor and no one else.

That could be called the Friday Way. One day, it could again be the Carolina Way.

Deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins can be reached at 919-829-4513 or at jjenkins@newsobserver.com

via Jenkins: Should the chancellor punt on athletics? | Jim Jenkins | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 252013



April 24, 2013

From Staff Reports

DURHAM — A historian who specializes in documentary work on the civil rights movement has been named the new director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Wesley C. Hogan comes to Duke from Virginia State University, a historically-black school in Petersburg, where she has taught since 2003. She earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from Duke.

Hogan replaces Tom Rankin, who has led the center since 1998 and who expanded its reach and reputation with gallery and traveling exhibitions, book publishing, national fieldwork projects, radio programs and public events, including the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Rankin will remain at Duke, where he is a professor in the Department Art, Art History & Visual Studies.

Hogan has spent 20 years interviewing social activists, particularly veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinator Committee, in both her scholarly and her community work.

“Documentary work plays a central function in society at large,” she said. “It determines who we can see, literally, and thus who we care about and cannot ignore.”

Hogan begins her new job July 1.

via DURHAM: Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies gets new director | Education | NewsObserver.com.