Is current child custody system biased?

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to last week’s question concerning driver education. I am glad to see that so many people care about that issue and are willing to share their opinion. The majority of you agreed that the state should fund driver education and that the money should not come from the State Highway Fund. Most everyone expressed approval for increasing the amount of time that students spend on the road with an instructor when going through driver education.

For this week, I would like to get your opinion on child custody. On what merits do you think child custody should be awarded, and do you think the current system is biased against either the mother or father? Thank you, I look forward to reviving your thoughts.

Sampson County

receives grant money

Sampson County was recently approved to receive a $500,000 Economic Infrastructure Grant (EIG) from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The money will be used to allow Kansas City Sausage Company to expand its operations by demolishing an existing building and constructing an updated 60,000 square foot facility. The site is not currently serviced by public sewer, and the grant money will specifically pay for 14,060 linear feet of eight-inch force main, a pump station and the necessary rights of way. Kansas City Sausage has stated that the project will create 50 new, full-time jobs.

In addition to the EIG money, Kansas City Sausage Company was approved for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for their efforts to switch off their private land application waste water system and to public sewer, while retaining jobs.

Our Main

Squeeze Festival

This year marks the fourth annual “Our Main Squeeze Festival” hosted by Duplin Winery. The event is set for May 2nd at the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville. The festival honors the nation’s military with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Fisher House. The Fisher House is a non-profit organization that provides a network of housing in order for military families to be able to stay near their ill or injured family members.

The festival will feature native grapes, showcased along with a variety of vendors with hand-made crafts, beers and food. Tickets in advance are $15 and $40 at the gate. The first 2000 members to show their military ID will be given free admission. Acclaimed beach music bands will be playing all day, such as: Jim Quick and the Coast Line Band, The Band of Oz and Liquid Pleasure. The festival will last all day, but people are encouraged to arrive early to ensure sufficient time to experience all the day’s festivities.

Ham & Yam


Pork and sweet potatoes will fill downtown Smithfield this Saturday, May 2nd, for the 31st annual Ham & Yam Festival. The day will feature live music, with this year’s headliner, The Dave Matthews Tribute Band, taking the Neuse River Amphitheater stage at 8 p.m. The annual 4-H barbecue cook-off will be back this year, as will Circle C Farms’ Hogway Speedway Racing Pigs and rubber-duck races down the Neuse River. A sweet potato pie-eating contest will take place at 2:30 p.m., where 10 participants will compete to eat an entire pie without using their hands. The fastest eater will win $100.

Those looking to burn a few calories may enter the Johnston Health Champions 5K, which starts at 9 a.m. in front of the hospital at 509 N. Bright Leaf Blvd. The race benefits the Johnston Health Angel Fund, which assists cancer patients with expenses such as wigs, prosthesis and transportation to treatment. Children may take part in the free Kids Dash for Health at 10 a.m. For children’s entertainment, the festival will feature face painting, water fights, pony rides and a number of inflatable attractions, including bounce houses and slides. Live music will include performances by Jonathan Parker & the Bel-Airs, Taylor Leopold, Al Batten & the Bluegrass Reunion, Kaylin Roberson, Eric Strickland & the B-Sides, 180 Years, Artistry in Motion and the Justin Kyle Band. For a complete schedule of events, visit

District Spotlight

Matt Green is JCC’s 2015 recipient of the Academic Excellence Award. At JCC, academic excellence award recipients are nominated by faculty or staff and selected on the basis of selected academic criteria, which are consistent with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society criteria. Fifty-eight students, one from each community college, received academic excellence awards. Green will receive a plaque and medallion at graduation for his accomplishment.

Phil Blackmon, Green’s clinical radiography instructor, said “Green is an exceptional student. He was one of 75 radiologic students from around the country chosen to participate in the American Society of Radiologic Technologists 2014 Student Leadership Development Program last spring.”

Matt says of his time at JCC, “School has always been a challenge for me due to a disorder I have called Tourette’s syndrome. But the instructors at JCC have given much of their personal time and energy to help me and others succeed. They are here for anything you need at any time.”

In Closing

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the North Carolina Senate. I read every email that comes to my legislative account and I encourage you to reach out to me with your thoughts and concerns. If you would like to stay informed of my actions in the legislature, I encourage you to friend me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter.