With the Dusk Till Dawn Social Series, each month you'll be taken to one of the city’s finest venues, encouraging you to come out after work to mix and mingle.

Watch Cam Newton in funny Gatorade commercials, his "Huddle Up" web series for Under Armor, and even a comic book.

The SEC Network is making an historic debut, available in 75 million households, and in terms of projected revenue, it's the fifth-largest sports network in the country.

This new, month-long holiday is a popular topic on social media, of course, including plenty of people making fun of it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Survived Hurricane Hugo -- 25 Years Ago

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 9/21/2014 No comments
This country has been devastated by several fatal and costly hurricanes over the years. Hurricane Katrina, which struck in 2005, is probably the storm that comes to mind first for most people nowadays. But if you take it back to when I was an elementary school kid in South Carolina, there was no bigger deal than Hurricane Hugo.

The category 4 hurricane touched down near Charleston just before midnight on September 21, 1989, and went on to terrorize the Carolinas on September 22, with maximum winds of 138 mph and the eye of the storm was 35 miles wide. Hugo hit South Carolina the hardest, ravishing most of the state. And as it reached Charlotte, it blew out windows from skyscrapers and toppled thousands of trees, among other damage.

This is now the 25th anniversary for what at the time was the costliest storm in the United States' history ($7 billion in damage in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and another $3 billion in the Caribbean islands), and tragically it killed at least 41 people in this country, with more than half of the victims being in South Carolina.

Here are a few things I remember from Hurricane Hugo.

- I was nine years old, living in the small town of Rembert, SC (located in Sumter County and about 45 minutes east of Columbia). There were a lot of trees in our yard, and as my family prepared to buckle down for the storm, my mom decided to park her black Pontiac Grand Am in a different place than usual, away from most of the trees. There was only one tree in the area where she parked the car, and it was a really big tree. Surely it would sustain from the hurricane. Not! Hugo knocked that tree over smack on the middle of my mom's car, which she'd only had for about a year. It was a total loss.

- Since the hurricane hit overnight, it had pretty much passed through my town by daybreak. Walking outside in the morning and seeing the devastation was like a scene out of the movies. Debris was everywhere, countless trees uprooted, power lines laying on the ground, houses destroyed.

- Hugo knocked out our power for more than a week (I think). The first couple of days of the aftermath we stayed at home, but then as the power loss persisted, we moved to a hotel in Camden for a few days--I think power got restored there before it came back on in my rural town. Since there was no power in Rembert, there was also no water, and I remember plenty of people going to my Aunt Martha's house to get water because she had one of those old-timey wells with a manual pump.

- Schools were closed for several days. That was the fun part.

- People started selling--and wearing--"I Survived Hurricane Hugo" T-shirts.

Credit: Etsy

The Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia) have each put together a package of news stories, photos, and accounts of people's memories from Hurricane Hugo, in honor of the 25th anniversary. Visit charlotteobserver.com/hugo and thestate.com/hurricane-hugo.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'm a longtime fan and watcher of NBC's Today show, and I have the series set to record on DVR. I hadn't watched yesterday's show yet, and at some point throughout the day I saw on Twitter that Jhene Aiko had performed (I love her, and I saw her perform last weekend in Atlanta). So I watched a little bit of yesterday's episode this morning, primarily fast-forwarding to get to Jhene's performance. And in the process, I came across a great segment involving the Carolina Panthers and a kid who has cerebral palsy.

Credit: Today

In the video below, you'll see what the Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton did for 13-year-old Austin Smith, who enjoys playing football and doesn't let his physical limitations stop him, including giving him and his family tickets (great seats) to this Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This further reiterates the influence NFL players--and most professional athletes for that matter--have on our society and on our youth in particular. Generally, these pro stars do a lot of good.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Several NFL players have spoken out against domestic violence in recent weeks, in the wake of the Ray Rice and Greg Hardy situations. And the latest to take a stance--via Twitter--is Steve Smith, who's in a rather unique position. See, Smith is a former Carolina Panthers player, as you know, and former teammate of Hardy; and he currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens, which was Rice's team until they cut the running back last week after the now-infamous inside-the-elevator video was released.

Credit: @89SteveSmith

I'm not digging in the weeds here on the NFL's domestic violence crises because it's being reported on around the clock on major news networks and publications. But I wanted to share Smith's tweets, in case you haven't seen what he posted last night. And in true Mr. Ice Up Son fashion, he didn't back down from smack talk from other tweeters. Click here to read the full thread.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Charlotte's turn to be graced with the Outkast reunion tour, as the iconic hip-hop duo headlines Funk Fest Charlotte. The two-day music festival takes place Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13 at Metrolina Expo, and while the concert lineup was announced a while ago--in addition to Outkast, there's B.O.B, Fantasia, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, The Roots, Salt-N-Pepa, and more--the show times have now been released.

Gates open 2 p.m.
Salt-N-Pepa - 4 p.m.
Fantasia - 5:30 p.m.
Doug E. Fresh - 7 p.m.
B.O.B - 8 p.m.
Outkast - 9:15 p.m.

Gates open 1 p.m.
95 South and 69 Boyz - 3 p.m.
112 - 4 p.m.
War - 5:30 p.m.
The Roots - 7 p.m.
Ice Cube - 8:30 p.m.
LL Cool J - 10 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online: general admission, one-day pass, $65; two-day pass, $100; VIP packages are available as well. Go to funkfestconcerts.com for complete details. You can also visit my Dusk Till Dawn blog later this week for a list of parties in Charlotte this weekend, including the official Funk Fest after-party, as this music festival is expected to bring a lot of excitement and out-of-towners to the city.

Now, for a little bit of good news involving the NFL. A press conference was held this morning at West Charlotte High School to announce that the school will receive a new synthetic turf football field, as the result of a $200,000 grant from the Carolina Panthers through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program. The program has helped build or renovate 290 football fields in underserved neighborhoods around the country since 1998.

This is just the latest form of community, corporate, and financial support West Charlotte High has received as numerous efforts are underway to help turnaround this once-reputable school that saw its academics and student population's well-being plummet in recent years. Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership and Investment For Transformation ) has led or coordinated many of these efforts at the high school as well as its eight feeder schools (elementary and middle), all located in Charlotte's westside.

Photos by Jarvis Holliday

There was a lot of positive energy at the press conference this morning. Of course there were officials representing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the Panthers, and sponsors, including CMS' Superintendent Heath Morrison and Duke Energy Foundation president Richard "Stick" Williams, but what thrilled me the most was to see the involvement of students in the ceremony. This, after all, is who the initiative will positively impact the most, and it gives them another reason to be proud of their school and to believe that the community cares. Members of the West Charlotte High marching band played, the cheerleaders cheered, and several of the football players were there. There was also a group of student journalists conducting interviews.

West Charlotte student journalists. 

Sir Purr is excited (as always).

The refurbished football field will not only be used by the high school students but by recreational programs from the community as well.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On my Dusk Till Dawn blog, each week I compile a list of social events and parties that are going on throughout Charlotte--there truly is a lot to do around here (check out this weekend's list of more than 20 events). But sometimes you need to participate in something that enriches you--your soul, your life, your career, your community. And there are a couple of events taking place this Saturday, September 6 in Charlotte that will help you do just that. Each is free and open to the public.

GoodCamp: A Social Good Unconference
9 a.m.-2 p.m. | Packard Place, 222 S. Church St.
GoodCamp is a user-generated (you pitch ideas; participants decide) "unconference" focusing on creating effective communications for social good. The organizers say that staff members, volunteers, and board members for nonprofits, foundations, philanthropic organizations, and governmental organizations will have the most to gain from attending. Visit goodcamp.org for more details and to register to attend.

Seconnd Annual Men's Summit
4-7 p.m. | Carole Hoefener Center, 610 E. Seventh St.
It’s an evening of empowerment, dialog, and tributes with special guests Senator Joel Ford, Dr. Tommy Watson, and Willie Ratchford. Presented by Suit Up Charlotte, an organization whose mission is to serve and inspire men in transition; to provide support that will result in more stable, confident, and stronger men, fathers, leaders, and families within our communities. Click here to register.

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