May 29, 2023

Feature stories

Featured Story

The Arts Empowerment Project

Offers Hope and Opportunity to Area Youth The arts teach more than just how to glue pieces of construction paper together or how to color between the lines. Research shows that exposure to the arts [...]
Featured Story

Trinity Episcopal School Principal

Nurtures Students’ Goals and Passions By Brenda Porter-Rockwell Photos by Chris Miller/Trinity Episcopal School Children often dream of a myriad of occupations before finding the passion that eventually informs their career choice. That wasn’t the [...]


Artificial Intelligence Has Gone Too Far!

My recent purchase of a washer and dryer has completely unnerved me. Right now, I have zero confidence in the simple ability to wash my clothes and get them clean. Here’s the problem. These two inanimate objects want to decide (for me) how to wash and dry my clothes, and I don’t like it – at all.

We started with two signature events, the Pride Sunset Jazz Festival and Let’s start from the beginning. My washer and dryer of at least 15 or more years were beginning to look a little scary, so I decided to bite the bullet and get a new, more eye-appealing set. I made my choice based solely on aesthetic appeal, in all honesty. All my life, I’ve had boring, white washers and dryers, so when my eyes set upon a sparkling, silver-tone set, there was no turning back.

Unfortunately, things went downhill upon delivery. The dryer was dented and, as the guys brought in the washer, a piece fell out of it, at which time they immediately took it back to the truck, exclaiming I would definitely need another washer. I opted to keep the dented dryer for a discount.

After two weeks, I received another washer. It used to be, when appliances were delivered, they’d explain how to use them. Not nowadays. They run in, hook it up to the water, and run. They can’t tell you anything, because they have zero training and zero knowledge about the products they are delivering.

It gets worse. Let me share some of the so-called amenities of the washer.

  •   Zero pressure fill — (What the heck is this?)
  •   Active bacteria — (You’ve got to be kidding.)
  •   Active water — (Have I been washing with inactive water?)
  •   Delay start — (What’s the point?)
  •   Finish in — (I’m clueless.)
  •   12 washing programs — (Give me a break!)
  •   Sixth sense smart sensors — (Huh?)

HELP ME, SOMEBODY! Who needs 12 different washing programs? The detergent dispenses automatically, but I have yet to see one iota of suds during the process. Quite frankly, my clothes don’t look clean. In addition, it is supposed to save on water and energy; however, what’s the use when the clothes don’t get completely wet during the washing cycle?

What about the dryer? Listen, I’ve already had to have a new computer board put in it because it would shut down completely if I used the “quick dry” cycle. (With no reset button anywhere, the dryer had to be pulled out and unplugged from the back for it to restart.)

All I want is to easily wash and get my clothes clean and dry. An app on my phone to help me operate my washer and dryer remotely is preposterous, and why should I have to have to search on line for directions on how to operate these technological monsters?  Did I mention the stress and trauma of trying to call and get answers from the manufacturer? Well — that’s another story altogether.

Thanks for letting me vent. I’m about to give up, but perhaps ChatGPT can help me with this???

For the sake of clean clothes,  


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To be a part of this historic occasion and for updates, log on to or call 704-375-9553. Sponsorships, tickets and tables are still available.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

Don’t forget to explore employee tuition assistance programs

The pandemic has caused a shift in all areas of business, and the field of education is no exception. Many colleges and universities had to shift their methods of instruction delivery due to the pandemic, and many of these changes have become permanent.

According to one report, spending on education technology in the United States reached $27.6 billion in 2021. Digital curriculum spending in 2020 was $13.1 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion over 2019. Digital curricula were essential due to the sudden move numerous institutions had to make to remote instruction.

These educational shifts also include shifts in the new student pool and the programs they pursue. Many of these new learners are adults who will be making career shifts. For those who have not been in school for at least a decade, applying for financial aid can seem quite daunting.

In reality, the process of applying for financial aid is much simpler now than it was in the 80s and 90s. When applying, students are also applying for local and state grants for which they might qualify, i.e., “free money.”

In addition to scholarships and grants available to the general population, a little research and diligence can uncover scholarships geared toward specific populations or degree programs. For instance, Western Governors University recently received a grant of nearly $1 million from the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition to increase the number of Black, Latina and Native American (BLNA) women earning bachelor’s degrees in information technology. BLNA women represent approximately 16 percent of the total U.S. population, yet they make up only four percent of students obtaining bachelor’s degrees in computing.

Adult workers could also be overlooking money from their employers. Don’t forget that many employers offer benefits beyond the typical medical, dental and 401(k) plans, including tuition reimbursement.

Tuition reimbursement/assistance can “look” very different based on the employer. Some college-tuition-assistance options include loan forgiveness, low-interest education loans, tuition bills direct-billed to the company, and tuition reimbursement. Some organizations even reimburse employees for one class each term if the employee earns a particular letter grade in the class — typically a “B” for a graduate-level course and a “C” for an undergraduate course.

Other employers have increased their tuition reimbursement amount to $5,250 per year for employees. Since 2016, $5,250 is the maximum amount an employer can provide to an employee tax-free. College tuition assistance is a wonderful way to not only use benefits that your company offers, but also to assist in keeping higher education affordable.

If you are considering pursuing an MBA, Western Governors University recently announced a one-year MBA track. This option costs $9,060 per year ($4,530 for two six-month terms) and has a projected salary increase of $16,200 upon completion of the degree. So, if a student were to begin this program in January and utilized their company’s maximum tuition reimbursement of $5,250 for the year, he or she could potentially pay only $3,810 out of pocket for a regionally and ACBSP-accredited MBA degree. This estimate doesn’t take into account the student applying for and potentially receiving a scholarship or grant from WGU or another source. The bottom line is that we’ve done so much to secure our bag, we also have to be diligent to keep the bag; increase it and not leave anything on the table. I heard someone say the other day that they wanted all their coins, and guess what? Coins add up to dollars.

Pride Awards 2023 E-Program


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