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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, April 8, 2004

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Politics churn around Med School project


The fight continues from the Brody School of Medicine for the proposed Eastern North Carolina Cardiovascular Institute.

You will remember that the university is asking for $60 million in the upcoming session of the General Assembly which commences in Raleigh the second week of May.

The leadership in the Senate has stated publicly that it supports the effort and intends to have it attached to a bill which will include the new cancer center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The co-speakers of the House of Representatives have also pledged support. However, the support is not unqualified. Republican Co-speaker Richard Morgan continues to say that he supports the idea in general but wants to see how it will be funded first.

The idea of a cigarette tax has been floated on several occasions and Morgan has stated firmly that he would not support it in that way.

Dr. Randolph Chitwood, the chief architect of the institute, and other administrators are concerned that the idea will not receive a positive vote in the General Assembly without a specific funding mechanism.

Late word on Tuesday is that Governor Easley and the leadership of both parties are working to try and find a way to make it happen before the legislature comes to town in a few weeks. Some creative financing is in the works.

ECU will remain positive but concerned until the vote is taken. There is no question this will be put on the table, but in a tough economy and rugged budget year the outcome is still in doubt.

Bull-fight looms for East Carolina

Finally this week is beginning to feel like spring. The warm weather has arrived just in time for another big baseball weekend in Greenville as the South Florida Bulls come to town.

Randy Mazey had his team playing well on the road, winning seven games during an eight-game swing that concluded last night with a 7-5 victory at Duke.

With a 25-6 record, the 17th-ranked Pirates hope they will be even better when they return home this weekend for the stiff test with USF. The Bulls have traditionally been a tough out in Conference USA.

Great timing with Harrington Field the scene for the Easter weekend series. Get out, enjoy the weather and hope for another good outing by the Pirates.

Bowdens visit Greenville

This past Sunday night over 1,000 sports fanatics, young and old, got a rare opportunity to hear from a living legend.

Bobby Bowden visited Greenville to be the key note speaker for the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes event at Oakmont Baptist Church.

FCA has had an incredible rebirth around Eastern N.C. since former minor leaguer Sam Martin took the reigns as executive director three years ago. Martin has brought in some big names in the last few years including former New York Yankee great Bobby Richardson.

However, Sunday night’s event was a high water mark. The legendary Florida State coach was joined by son Tommy Bowden, the 2003 ACC Coach of the Year from Clemson.

As I listened to them speak it hit me that they both had quite a year. Tommy bounced back from a rough start with the Tigers to get some big wins, including one over Dad.

That Florida State loss did not prohibit Bobby from surpassing Joe Paterno as the all time winningest coach in NCAA history.

While their message included some jokes about each other and some good natured ribbing, along with some good football chat, they both focused on the youth in the audience.

Bobby Bowden’s speech was akin to a good Southern Baptist sermon. He is eloquent in delivery and one can tell he very much believes what he says.

It was a great event and fun for people in and around Greenville to hear from someone of his stature.

Update on high school regionals

The Greenville City Council has been approached about helping with the funding for the Eastern Regional High School Playoffs starting this fall.

A few weeks ago, North Carolina High School Athletic Association officials offered ECU and the City of Greenville a chance to add various sports to the already successful basketball event at ECU, starting with football later this year.

Each sport has a price tag attached which includes payment of all expenses for the association, the teams involved and the university’s costs.

The Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce raises $45,000 annually for the basketball event held in Minges Coliseum and Rose High School each year.

On Thursday night, the Greenville City Council will vote on a proposal to inject an additional $50,000 annually into the project, which would allow ECU to host two football regionals in December and two best-of-three baseball series in the Pirates' new baseball stadium next spring.

If the council agrees to fund the regionals, ECU will host two football games, from classifications to be determined at season’s end, in Dowdy-Ficklen the first week of December.

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02/23/2007 10:13:24 AM

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