Because rate increases over the past several years weren’t enough…

BCBS wants 23% rate hike on ACA plans in North Carolina for 2018

635563407906359575-bcbsnc-logo_2513224_ver1-0(Raleigh News & Observer) Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, is proposing a 23 percent rate increase on Affordable Care Act plans in 2018, in what will be the fifth year of the federal health insurance mandate.

The steep rate request follows a 24.3 percent rate increase for this year and a 32.5 percent increase in 2016. The company’s ACA rates have more than doubled since the law made health insurance mandatory in 2014.

Read the full story HERE>

Miss me? I tapped out for a bit.

3-5-17 037I tried an interesting experiment over the past couple months. I disengaged with my website. I shut off the news. I stripped my social media feeds of all things political. I picked up my guitar and got on a public stage for the first time in forever. I wrote some new songs and poetry. I soaked myself in the lives of the people I love and immersed myself into where I was at. When I stuck my head back up I realized that nothing had really changed. Angry people were still angry. Happy people were still happy. Politicians were still splitting people apart. And good deeds were still, for the most part, being ignored by the media.

You know what I came to understand from this little pop culture hiatus? I care way too much about being present in my daily life to care about what’s dominating social and broadcast media anymore. Am I alone in this feeling? I really don’t care if I am or not. That said, I would love to engage with as many people in my community as care to engage with me in a genuine and vulnerably honest way. I find myself motivated to volunteer around town again. I’ve already agreed to a few big events over the next several weeks. I think the election season got me so jaded that I retreated to my bubble of family and friends just to maintain some semblance of sanity. It was like people didn’t know how to shut it off. All the drama was effecting my spirit.

So here’s where I’m at. I love the hours that fill my day. I love the people I encounter in my daily routine. I love the work I’m doing these days. And most of all, I just simply love. From where I sit, it seems a lot more people could use a two month unplug. If you can’t find it in yourself to do that, that’s cool. Do what feels right for you. But if you see me politely turn away and not engage, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means I don’t care to hit my head against a wall.

#Love

Nonverbal Boy with Autism Shares Special Bond with Deaf New Shelter Dog

connor-and-ellie-released(Good News Network) Connor Guillet may only be 6 years old, but he’s already found his soul mate in a deaf adopted boxer pup named Ellie. Since Connor is a nonverbal boy on the autism spectrum, he usually only communicates through signs and gestures. The boy’s parents found Ellie at a boxer rescue event near their home in Cocoa, Florida. When the trainers explained that they would have to use sign language in order to communicate with Ellie due to her deafness, the couple knew she would make a perfect companion for their son.

Read more HERE>

Michael Jordan to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

220px-michael_jordan_in_2014(Raleigh News & Observer)  President Barack Obama will bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on basketball superstar Michael Jordan, now the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise, the White House announced Wednesday. Jordan is among 21 individuals who will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor on Nov. 22. In the announcement, the White House described Jordan as “one of the greatest athletes of all time.” In 15 seasons in pro basketball, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships. Earlier, as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, he led the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1982.

Read this years complete list of recipients HERE>

Bill Murray celebrates Cubs World Series win in glorious fashion, for all to share

GTY 620750626 S SPO BBO BBA BBN USA OH(USA Today) The Chicago Cubs won the World Series on Wednesday night in Cleveland in an incredible 10 innings vs. the Indians. It put an end to the Cubs’ 108-year title drought, and superfan Bill Murray, who was one of many celebrities at the game, couldn’t believe it. Murray’s celebration was glorious. He tried honking MVP Ben Zobrist’s new car on the field, then he went into the locker room and acted as a Fox Sports reporter. Murray gave Dexter Fowler drinking tips in his interview: “Pace yourself. You’re gonna be doing this for a few years. You don’t want to start drinking too hard too early.”

See multiple video clips HERE>

Horror in the highlands: Asheville’s ghostly legends provide a glimpse into city’s past

riverside-20-1100x733(Mountain XPress) The large crowd that packs the back room of West Asheville’s new Byrish Haus & Pub isn’t unusual for a Wednesday evening, but its purpose there might be a little strange, even for this town. “Tonight, we will be conducting an investigation and seance in a way that’s never been done in Asheville,” says Joshua P. Warren, Asheville native and nationally renowned paranormal investigator. Employing a host of electrostatic detectors and traditional instruments of the occult, Warren, forensic historian Vance Pollock and a host of paranormal investigators, “sensitives” and mediums are about to attempt to identify and draw out a spirit said to be plaguing the new bar. Like any good Southern city, Asheville’s history is steeped in the gothic and the paranormal. While the facts and claims behind these legends vary from story to story (and storyteller), Asheville’s “ghosts” play an often unheralded role in capturing and preserving the city’s past.

Read the full article HERE>

A more balanced view of daily life in America.