Milestones: Henderson’s first CRAAPs

Today I am going to introduce what I hope will become an annual Henderson event: the Civic Responsibility, Awareness and Participation Awards, or the CRAAP (pronounced “crop”) Awards. These awards will be given to individuals who, in my opinion, have achieved milestones in city/county government, education, religion, society, social activism, or other forms of blatant, in flagrante civic-mindedness.


This first award goes to Danny Wilkerson. Not only is Danny the chief of the Henderson Fire Department, but he also serves on the Vance County Charter School Board of Directors. Although these roles seem incongruous, they did combine nicely when the chief “inspired” his firefighters to install lighting fixtures in the charter school facility on city time using a city firetruck for transportation. What made this even better is that the truck was parked near the Food Lion, and I thought there was a fire, so I didn’t go in and went without my 40-ouncer that morning.

But that’s not the only thing that qualifies Danny for this award. Danny rules his department with an iron fist. There’s no “disorganization” on his watch, no sir. Every Fire Department employee is allowed to express any of Danny’s opinions they want.


When it comes to politics, sometimes silence is golden. No City Council member has been as golden as Lonnie Davis. Lonnie will soon be the longest-serving member of the council, and for good reason. When other council members are going at it hammer and tongs for the betterment and entertainment of the community (like the Wester-Yount Scowl and Howl Hour), Lonnie just kicks back, relaxes and chews on the big words. And just think of all the leadership and government initiative he’s provided, if you can! Congratulations, Lonnie!


Everyone … Eric Williams has been the city manager of Henderson for 23 years now. In that time … he has been there to fill any leadership vacuums that might occur … and kept every period in Henderson working overtime. If anyone has the pulse of Henderson city government, it’s Eric.

When he’s not Speedoing around town or motoring about in his city-owned, city-fueled Crown Victoria, he’s making sure every secretary and the city clerk are keeping nice and busy working for him on city time. There’s no slacking off when Eric’s got work to be done! I’m sure the new City Council just can’t wait for a closed session to show Eric all the appreciation he’s due.


Henderson City Council member Mike Rainey was originally the prime contender for this coveted CRAAP award. After all, his highly secular council invocations go a long way toward making sure that our growing Muslim population, as well as Jews, Hindus and any other non-Christians in our community, can feel like outsiders. This is, of course, without regard to how many jobs they bring, what vital role they fill in Henderson or how much they may broaden the tax base.

However, in a split decision, the very first Holy CRAAP award goes to Henderson City Council member Mary Emma Evans for leading the council to deny Woodcrafts and Coin Supply’s request to use a city parking lot for a Sunday auction. If citizens don’t fear God, Mary Emma is there to use city facilities and her paid city position to make sure we all behave according to arbitrary religious standards that we may or may not share. I know Mary Emma would thank Eric Williams if she could. If Eric had not brought the issue before the council, it’s doubtful that anyone would have noticed, especially the good folks at First Baptist Church, who, it seems, did not care one way or the other and therefore needed the protection of the City Council.

Full of CRAAP

No one in North Carolina works as hard for the people of Henderson and Vance County as state Rep. Michael Wray. How do I know that he is a God-fearing, Christian, hardworking, family-loving, small-business owner just like me? How do I know how much he’s accomplished in the General Assembly this year? Mainly because he tells me over and over again at every single event at which he speaks.

I like you, Michael, I really do, and I genuinely appreciate all the work you’ve done for us. I voted for you and everything and plan to do so again. You’re clearly overflowing with civic responsibility, awareness and participation. Please stop telling me about it.

(I’m not really a business owner, unless drinking beer and recycling the bottles is a business, so don’t get excited, Garry Daeke. You might get one of these next year.)


As the first president and the father of our country, George Washington’s farewell address warned America to stay out of European affairs. Nearly 200 years later, outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned a nation against a growing military-industrial complex. Two generations afterward and equally momentous, Mike Rainey’s swan song alerted a sleeping, complacent City Council to the growing threat of the Clean Up Henderson Committee.

This evil organization, whose hell-spawned activities seem bent on improving Henderson’s property values and prospects for attracting industry through code enforcement, is a clear conflict of interest to the slumlords on the City Council. It also cruelly provides a political springboard for those who seem genuinely interested in improving their community, damned muckrakers!

Mike can see through all that, though. He knows that their $100,000 sword of cleanliness is more than a match for Henderson’s $26 million cannon of filth. Good going, Mike!

Running CRAAP

I know I’m running a huge risk of being accused of favoritism as I announce that Michael Jacobs, editor and publisher of, is the first recipient of this award.

Michael should be given credit for changing the political landscape of Henderson — from Atlanta. Michael has taken the tough stands and fought the good fight against the powers-that-be in Henderson — from Atlanta. In addition, Michael has given Hendersonians an outlet for innuendo and rumormongering that normally would have taken place while blocking the aisles at the Dabney Drive Food Lion or Wal-Mart.

Am I the only one who noticed that Michael never talked when Elissa Yount or Lynn Harper were drinking water? Shari Lewis had nothing on these two when it comes to throwing voices.

Peace of CRAAP

No one is better suited to the role of peacemaker than Bernard Alston. Unique among Henderson City Council members because he is not currently a taxpayer, Bernard is in an excellent position to arbitrate disputes among other members because he holds no personal stake in the outcome. Since Bernard will neither gain nor lose in decisions affecting taxes and the city budget, he is the ideal man to make financial decisions for the residents of Henderson. If you’re looking for a council member with no conflict of interest, Bernard is your one and only choice!

Folks, when you see these people on the street, in the supermarket or in the “foreign film” section of your local video rental establishment, don’t forget to congratulate them for all the CRAAP they bring to our community. Inspire them to CRAAP even harder for you!

May we all be hip deep in CRAAP!