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'Up Front' Podcast Rounds Out Year With A Look Back At Episodes From 2020

Dec 21, 2020 04:55PM ● By Jason Huddle

Episode 88: Best of 2020 (Pt. 1)

We've almost made it out of 2020, but that doesn't mean we should look back as some highlights from the year. This week, we take a look back at some powerful moments from the first half of 2020 on Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. Join us as we relive these moments and remember how much we all had to grow up very fast. See Below for Part 2!

Jason Huddle  00:00

2020 has been a year that many of us would love to forget. But it's also been a year where we've asked ourselves some difficult questions and dealt with some tough issues.


Sam Dozier  00:10

We recited the Pledge of Allegiance yesterday. We say I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice. I'm cool right there but don't say for all if it doesn't mean me.


Jason Huddle  00:25

I get where you're coming from. But do you think we're setting a dangerous precedent for future infections? As soon as someone hits? Everything gets shut down? And the economy takes another hit? Is that what we're looking towards for the next time?


Richard Hudson  00:40

Yeah, it's a it's a really good question. It's an important question that, frankly, we start asking after 9/11. This week,


Jason Huddle  00:46

We take a look back at the first half of 2020. We realize how good we had it before March, and how far we've come since then. That's coming up right now on Up Front withCabarrus Magazine, a presentation of CabCo Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. Cabarrus Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus. Welcome to the best of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine 2020 edition, part one. I'm your host, Jason Huddle. Welcome my friends to another edition of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine Episode 88. And the end is almost in sight. 2020 is almost at a close. We're just a couple of weeks away. And I wanted to take the last couple of episodes for the year. And take a quick look back. Now I know some of you are like, Jason, why are you wanting to look back on this year? The fact of the matter is this has been a historic year, not for the best of reasons. But it has been historic. And we've been able to ask some tough questions, we dealt with some tough issues in our country. We're still dealing with them, admittedly. But at least the conversations are ongoing at this point. And I appreciate that much. Some of the segments we'll explore this week are from happier times before we even knew a shutdown was coming. And then through some very dark times, when our country was literally on fire in some of our cities, because of protests and riots. We're gonna get into all that, but not before shameless plug time. If you have not checked it out yet, I wanted to take this moment to remind you that the final edition of Cabarrus Magazine for 2020 is online and in stands. This month, we are taking a look back at Cabarrus County at Christmas time. There are some incredible pictures in there. From present day as well as from years past, our photographer Michael Anderson, discovered some photos taken a long time ago around the middle of the 20th century of Cabarrus County. And I think it's great to look at how far we've come but how similar we still are in our celebration of the holidays. Granted this year is a lot different and the pictures that you see that are present day are from 2019. And before so keep that in mind as you're looking and you don't see anybody wearing masks or anybody social distancing. Keep that in mind that this was way before the shutdown way before COVID that these pictures were in there. But I take a look at this magazine. Also, as usual, we have news of ongoing events in the county and an incredible recipe for Christmas morning. That's all I'm going to tell you you have to go to to check it out or grab a copy off of a stand near you. We have over 230 locations countywide. Grab that issue and enjoy it over the holidays and let me just say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to you. And that's this week's shameless plug time. Okay, after the break, we will begin our 2020 walk down memory lane with our interview with Beth Troutman Whaley the week before the shutdown. Stay tuned.


Commercial  04:06



Jason Huddle  05:14

Welcome back to the program. The first segment I wanted to highlight. In our part, one of our best of 2020 was actually an interview that took place right before the shutdown literally the week before the shutdown. We had in studio with us Beth Troutman Whaley, Beth, as you may remember, was a graduate of Concord high school. She is a Cabarrus County native, and she had a very great career as a journalist was on some national programs, and then eventually came back to be the evening anchor on WC NC, the NBC affiliate here in the Charlotte Metro market, she gave all of it up, because she felt like she was in the wrong job. She was tired of giving bad news to people, and she wanted to do something positive with her life. And so she left that anchor position, the dream job, and went on to do some philanthropic things. One of the first things she did was to go to Haiti on a mission trip, I found her whole story very compelling. And we did a feature on her several years back when she left the anchor desk. Well, I wanted to catch up with her and kind of get her perspective. And so we talked a little bit about that Haiti trip in the interview. The reason why I wanted to bring up this particular segment, is because it reminds me of how good we have it, even in the midst of everything that's happened in 2020. This country, in my opinion, is still the best country in the world. And we have privileges other people would only dream of and when you hear this segment, you'll be reminded of that, to listen to this. Let's talk about getting to Haiti and let's talk about what you experienced there. When you get off the plane, what do you see?


Beth Whaley  07:04

Well, it's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. So when you get off the plane, it's initially shocking to the system, Port-au-Prince was still and still is dealing with a great deal of poverty, still dealing with reconstruction, from the earthquake, from hurricanes, and I had not witnessed poverty like that I certainly had seen poverty. When I was in Brazil, covering the Olympics, when I was in Rio, this was a different level and your first instinct I think, when you come into a place from an American perspective is you compare you know, you you compare this life to the life that you're accustomed to. And I think that's the wrong way to approach it, you have to go in and start seeing life through the eyes of the people who live in that space. And that took me a few days to realize and to understand and what you come away with. And what I started seeing while I was there was this beautiful sense of community and kindness and generosity, and we were so welcomed by people. And so people were so loving and wanting to communicate and talk and hold hands and hug and welcome you into their homes, no matter how their homes look. And what you understand is that you know, the, the stuff, all of the material goods that we have, all that stuff really doesn't matter. Ultimately, if you don't have this beautiful sense of love and kindness and generosity toward your fellow human beings, and the communities they are seems to have that just in just tremendous amounts. And that was what the experience really became. It wasn't about just seeing the poverty, it was about seeing the richness of existence and life and humanity.


Jason Huddle  08:47

I've talked to other people who have gone on missions trips to Haiti. And they talked about the desperation that some of these people have that they're getting on a van, and people are trying to shove their babies into the van with them and saying, Please take my kid, is that accurate?


Beth Whaley  09:02

I didn't have an experience to that degree with with desperation, I was living at an orphanage and the children there were because of the organization I was working with were very well taken care of doing really, really well. I also volunteered in a hospital there, which was also a shock to the system because it's a third world hospital, which is very different from what our hospitals look like I was, you know, scrubbed definitely I was in surgeries, not performing the surgeries, obviously but I was in in the room with people and the life is definitely different. You know, in the hospitals, particularly the the families are responsible for getting medications to their family members. They are the ones who stay there and help take care. It's not help take care of the patient. It's not really you know, nurses and doctors that are bringing all of that stuff in. The families have to leave the hospital, go pick medication up at a pharmacy bring things back and that created a sense of, I think desperation for some people. I saw children who had developmental disabilities who had been abandoned at hospitals because their families couldn't take care of them. So I saw that kind of desperation and what you really come to learn about countries like Haiti, places where there are financial and political problems is that a great deal of it has to do with corruption on, you know, the on the scale of the leaders themselves, but the majority of people, again, are trying to do the right thing, but you have a level of corruption, people who are greedy and to our power hungry or who are who have become, you know, incredibly arrogant because of power who aren't looking after the least among them. And that's what ends up causing the problems that create desperate scenarios. It is always because of corruption. It's always because of corrupt humans.


Jason Huddle  10:53

And the very next week, the world broke after the break. We get into that when we talk with Dr. Suda, about COVID-19. At the very beginning of the shutdown, stay tuned.


Commercial  11:04



Jason Huddle  11:33

Welcome back to the program. Less than a week after my interview with Beth Troutman, the world absolutely shut down. It was at that point that I hastily got an interview with Dr. Russell Suta, who's with the Cabarrus Health Alliance is amazing to me how naive we were at the time regarding how this pandemic would progress and how quickly we would be out of it. Nevertheless, he makes some great points in this segment that still resonate today. Let's take a look back at this interview with Russell Suta from the Cabarrus Health Alliance back on March 17th 2020. When do you think we will know that things have turned in our favor? And we can start getting back to a normal life?


Dr. Russell Suda  13:08

That is such a good question. It's such a difficult question to answer. I have listened to the experts from the CDC and they have trouble answering those. If you look at any epidemic, there's a large peak, if you were to graph it out over time, a large peak that represents the epidemic and then it falls off and goes down to approach zero and eventually is extinguished. With all the measures that we're doing. I think it's Dr. Fauci, who is from the CDC said, we are going to definitely flatten out that hump.


Jason Huddle  13:48

Flatten the curve, that is the slogan of choice right now.


Dr. Russell Suda  13:52

It is going to flatten the curve, it will not extinguish that hump. But when we flatten it, how fast it actually goes down from its peak is very difficult to say. But I've heard the guesstimate is eight weeks, that we're going to be in the midst of a time where we really got to do some social distancing, and keep it off. I wish I could tell you for sure, eight weeks, what's going to happen eight weeks from now. But you know, this is something that science has not produced a definite answer, so I can't produce it either.


Jason Huddle  14:28

I don't see how they could. To be honest with you. I mean, this is unprecedented. We've never dealt with something to this extreme before. We've shut down everything and so it's hard to say like, as I mentioned at the beginning of the last segment, we've had serious illnesses before this country, but we've never shut everything down to the point where we've completely cut off contact or severely limited contact between our populations. So it stands to reason that you should be able to Flatten the curve quicker in this instance.


Dr. Russell Suda  15:05

Well, that's certainly the goal. I mean, you've very accurately articulated what we're trying to achieve. The problem is, you know, when you're going through it with these kind of measures, as stridently exercise as they're being exercise for this pandemic, we don't we can't look back and say, with these kind of measures, you know, what did we experience we're This is going to be wonderful for future epidemic pandemics, and they will come again. So we're setting the precedent here, hopefully, the infrastructure of knowledge that will help us in the future as well.


Jason Huddle  15:49

Just a couple of days after that interview, I ended up getting an interview with Republican Congressman Richard Hudson, to talk about the stimulus package and other issues surrounding the shutdown. One of the main concerns and still is, is where the line is drawn between your rights as an American citizen, and the greater good of the public safety. And this is what I asked him, I get where you're coming from. But do you think we're setting a dangerous precedent for future infections? As soon as one hits, everything gets shut down? And the economy takes another hit? Is that what we're looking towards for the next time?


Richard Hudson  16:28

Yeah, it's a it's a really good question. It's an important question that, frankly, we start asking after 911, you know, how much are we willing to give up of our liberty to the government so they can protect us? And again, as a conservative, my answer is not much. And, and we need to make sure we're protecting our freedoms and our abilities to that are protected, you know, freedoms are protected on the Constitution, our ability to exercise our rights as Americans, we have to be very, very vigilant about defending those rights and not going to far.


Jason Huddle  16:58

Congressmen, I have some questions from some listeners of the show for you. But before I get to that, I just have one more question. For myself. It seems like whenever things like this happen, the Congress tends to get into a reactionary mode. And my question is always the same. You know, this is the United States of America. It seems like we have contingency plans for our contingency plans. So why when something like this happens, and I granted, it's unprecedented, but why when something like this happens, are we always scrambling at the last second to figure out what we're going to do to help stimulate the economy or, you know, get people to stay in their homes. Why are we figuring this out? Now? Why aren't these contingency plans already in place? And our people in Congress talking about, okay, we need to have our stuff together the next time this happens?


Richard Hudson  17:49

That's a great question and you know, it's the unfortunate answer is oftentimes it takes a crisis to get the federal government to move. And you know, our our founding fathers set up a system with government with checks and balances. That's important to preserve our liberties. But it can be very inefficient, and very hard to change and to do things that we need to do.


Jason Huddle  18:16

When we come back from the break, we're going to wrap up the program by featuring a two part episode that probably will remain one of the most proud moments for me as a journalist when everything is said and done. If you want to know what it is, stick around.


Commercial  18:32



Jason Huddle  19:51

Welcome back the final segment I want to feature in this part one of our best of 2020 episodes, stems from our conversation on race. Race Relations. Now let me set this up a little bit for you. The tragedy of George Floyd had just happened. There were numerous protests going on around the country, I'm sure you all remember that I don't need to go into that with you. And so I invited a couple of members of the African American community to come in. And we ended up having a discussion on race relations. The discussion was so good. I ended up extending it to a two part episode because there was just too much to cover. And I wanted to limit what I had to edit out. Now, this was hours of conversation that I had to hone down to about an hour total of dialogue. But in between the first and the second episode, there was actually an incident that took place here in Cabarrus County, that I felt made my point of how social media, and the media in general can manipulate facts to fit a certain narrative. And so this was the final part of the final segment of these episodes on race relations. Please listen to this conversation and hear the heart of everyone involved. Because I think that the points made, still resonate, and will continue to resonate for years to come. I want to talk a little bit about manipulation of information, just for a second, okay. And if you'll indulge me, and I know, I told Ali before we started recording, I was gonna bring this up. And I'm not going to bring up a lot of specifics. But I'll just give you an example of something and it really hit home with me of how quickly information can get changed. The facts of a situation can be morphed into something completely different within a matter of minutes in this day and age. And all of a sudden, someone is vilified. They really had no part in it. Let me be the example I will give no, no specifics. But this did happen in our community inside Cabarrus County. A young African American Girl walked into a store. She gave a $20 bill to the clerk to pay for her goods. They have a machine that's supposed to identify counterfeit money. She went he ran through the machine, at least four times it would not accept the bill. He gave it back to her and requested some kind of form of payment. Another form of payment, she paid with her debit card, got her goods left the store and story right? Apparently not. She calls her mom tells her that the clerk accused her of trying to pass counterfeit money. And the mom came down there. Now this is a teenage boy, yes, he's white. He's a teenage boy, just doing his job. The machine wouldn't take the 20. So he had no choice, right. All of a sudden, this kid is blasted on social media. And the establishment for which he works is blasted on social media, by this mother for being racist, for calling her daughter for accusing her daughter of passing trying to pass counterfeit money. And then somehow she she brought George Floyd into it and before, I mean, within literally minutes, this kid's name was out there teenage boy. And all he was doing was his job. teenage boys out there as being a racist little thug is the word that was used. The business owner is out there trying to apologize by the way he did give them their money back, he gave them a gift card. He did everything he could to defuse the situation. And yet she still went on social media, she still blasted them. And now there's a narrative that has been picked up by what would be considered a traditional African American website that has blown up the story. And it's completely lambasting this kid, this business owner who honestly didn't really do anything wrong, they were doing their jobs. And it hit me how quickly a narrative can be created out of something that didn't happen. And I bring up this story, because I see it happen, not just in racial situations. It happens in all kinds of specially political scenarios. I bring it up because it makes me question the information and then we're giving. Are we seeing the information that they want us to see? Are we seeing the truth? You brought up the story of Dylann Roof and him getting Burger King on the way home. Maybe he was given a little privilege because he was white. Maybe he wasn't killed because the cops that arrested said, nah, you're not getting off that easy. You just killed nine people. You need to go to jail for the rest of your life. You're not going to do suicide by cop. We're not gonna let you do that. Maybe it was because he laid down his weapon. And what didn't pose a threat? There are all kinds of reasons I wasn't there. I don't know. People are all over social media commenting on this poor teenage kid, they weren't there. They didn't see it happen. They just take one person's account of it and run with it. Now it's like a game of telephone because all of a sudden, as you watch the story get shared and shared and shared, it gets worse and worse.


Jason Huddle  26:01

I'm looking


Addul El Ali  26:01

Im looking at it now and this kids are racist, and you shouldn't have racist in your store. And this is what got George Floyd killed. And I'm like, yo, y'all don't even know that kid.


Jason Huddle  26:11

Yeah. And, incidentally, he's been asked to take a leave of absence, his 15, 16 year old kid. Because a defective machine wouldn't take 20 and now all of a sudden,


Sam Dozier  26:23

 the machine was defective.


Jason Huddle  26:24

The machine was defects. Thats what the manager


Sam Dozier  26:26

The young lady had a $20 bill that was legit. Yeah, it was legit 20. So Alright, so watch this and I totally understand all those points that you brought up, and I definitely get that. But what we have to also keep in mind is, why would a person feel that way? Why would a person feel like if you say was a little black girl, right? It was a teenage, teenage? Girl. Okay, teenage, teenage black girl. Okay, why would she even have that in her spirit? One because the temperature in the room right now because that is what happened with George Floyd. Now let's even go back to even even if it is kind of...


Addul El Ali  26:34

she'd have it in her spirit. If she's been told she's being treated differently.


Sam Dozier  27:05

We're in this environment right now. That's why the man was choked out by me. It was because of a $20 bill that was a counterfeit $20 bill. So that aligns with what is going on in her spirit. So now with the temperature in the room being that George Floyd, you know, will say it to have a counterfeit 20,


Jason Huddle  27:26

which was her reasoning, I guess that's how she got around.


Sam Dozier  27:29



Jason Huddle  27:29

But nobody brought up race except for her.


Sam Dozier  27:32

Right. I understand that. But what I'm saying is that is still what's in the room right now. We're still going through two weeks of why this man was choked out by me. You know, so so in her mind, she's goin well, here it is. There we go again, but let me back up for a minute. Because when people have counterfeit money, that's it. The person don't even know that they have the counterfeit money, they could have gone to the grocery store the client had it could have given them something. So when you just exchange your money, you just exchange your money. So when you are


Jason Huddle  28:00

I dont think anybody thought that this girl was intentionally trying to pass a counterfeit bill.


Sam Dozier  28:03

Okay, but that's what she's feeling. She's feeling this way. Like she's my 20. Now, especially now let's go back to the girl understands in the end, that her money was good, just like she thought in the beginning. Right. So now when she's going through all of this type of thing, now, let me go back to this and go back to this. because money is exchanged on a regular basis so many times in a day, right? And I guarantee you every piece of dollar bill that is exchanged is not run through a machine. Okay. So when I'm getting that is, this is what some, some people will feel. Also, you're gonna run my money through because I'm black.


Jason Huddle  28:40

No, okay, put things in perspective. Okay. This particular franchise runs anything $20 or larger through this machine. Black, white, purple doesn't matter. That's what this kid was doing. The machine was defective. That's not his fault and yet, he's the racist, and he's the thug and he's the person that shouldn't be employed. All because this lady went on social media, after she had handled with the manager after she had a discussion. And then puts out a narrative of the story. That, frankly, was an exaggeration of the truth, at best, and boldface lie at worst. And then now people are all fired up about it. And this poor kid's name is all over Facebook. Right? So again, it made me see how quickly media or social media, whatever y'all there's a narrative and make you get fired up about something that isn't even true. Hey, I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane as we covered the first part of 2020. In our best of segment here on upfront with comparis magazine, we've had some fabulous interviews over this year, many of them dealing with COVID but I hope you see this program is not a one trick pony. We cover the news of cabarrus County, whether it be COVID or race relations, or maybe even just taking a break and having a laugh, we have made sure that this program stays relevant. We will put links to all the episodes we featured in this week's program in our show notes so you can make sure that you have a direct link to hear all of them in their entirety if you wish. Of course you can always go to Cabarrus Magazine comm and click on the Up Front tab and you can listen to every episode we have ever produced right there in one location. Next week we will wrap up the year and wrap up our best of 2020 as we as we take a look at the last half of this year, and I hope you will join us for that. Until next week you have been listening to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine it is produced and hosted by yours truly Jason Huddle and is presented by CabCo Media Group. We are also sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus as always, please remember to support those that support us until next week. Marry Christmas y'all.

Episode 89: Best of 2020 (Pt. 2)

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