Sunday Reader: Ticker tape parade, anyone?

Foster Hughes. Scroll down for more about him.

I didn’t have a Sunday Reader last week; I wish I could blame Mother’s Day but really it was poor planning. So this, what was supposed to be the fourth, is now merely the third Sunday Reader.

Sunday Reader? What’s that? Hell if I know.

I thought it would be good to have something you could dig your teeth into about local issues that people are talking about. The first Sunday Reader was mainly a collection of comments curated from social media about local issues. There was a lot to talk about that week.

The next Sunday Reader followed a week with a lot to talk about, but it was hard to find anyone talking about it online.

That brings us to now. And once again, there is a lot to talk about.

There’s the gas shortage. There was speculation about why the city manager left his job and who would be picked to fill in. And so on.

And then there was the biggest story of the week that resulted in a huge celebration where people came out with posters proclaiming VC Day and kissed strangers in public. 

After more than a year of it, I am amazed how little fanfare followed the lifting of mask restrictions in North Carolina on Friday. We won the war! Or did we? (VC Day? Victory COVID Day.)

At least for the moment, we have a reprieve and a sense of wellbeing. But no ticker-tape celebration?

Maybe it’s because people didn’t have the gas to get to Union Point. 

I confess, I was among those hoarding gas. And I’d do it again; we have to make twice-weekly drives to Raleigh, period. In our “economy” car, we made the round trip with 60 miles of range to spare. No second round trip for it. Our “gas guzzler” truck can make two round trips … so that gets us through next week with very little to spare. 

Break out the gas can. 

We also stocked up on toilet paper and, once we found some, Lysol. I’m glad we did, because we would have done without for quite a while.

I don’t blame the governor for setting off the gas crisis. Turns out, Colonial Pipeline paid the ransom early on and it only affected Colonial Pipeline’s admin software, and that blah-blah-blah … so Cooper was wrong this time.

Next time, when the crisis is operational rather than administrative, we’d be saying Cooper was right.

More to the point, how could Cooper know last week’s oil crisis was nothing but a monetary issue?

He’s had a lot to think about … perhaps more than most governors who preceded him since the Civil War.

The gas and the mask kept me from thinking about New Bern city manager’s sudden resignation. A younger me would have been all over this story but the current me would only have cared had he been led out handcuffed.

I mean, Mark Stephens’ personal and professional life is his business, not mine. I wish him well. 

On another note, his interim replacement, Parks Director Foster Hughes, is an OMG incredible choice for the job and may well be the best candidate to take the job permanently. 

Hughes masterfully guided the community through the process that led to a replacement of “Castle Park.” Although stuck in the middle of the Stanley White Recreation Center debate, he has remained above the issues. Meanwhile, he’s well into developing the spectacular Martin Marietta Park.

I can’t wait to see what he can do now that he has the keys to City Hall.

By Randy Foster