Author Archives: bjmurphy

A Ferris Bueller Merry Christmas

On Saturday, December 14th, Kinston had one of its largest parades in recent memory. For nearly three years, I’ve wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas with a tribute to Ferris Bueller like the one found here.

So Jessica, Gracyn, Kathryn and I organized a Flash Mob and took to the streets of Kinston. One citizen in another video on Facebook said, ”What kind of mayor have you seen do that?”

Click on the picture. Enjoy.

Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy Ferris Bueller Twist and Shout
Photo By: Zach Frailey for the Kinston Free Press

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.


KFP: Holly day – Christmas tree lit in downtown Kinston

Holly Day tree lighting

Kinston City Councilmen, from left, Wynn Whittington and Robbie Swinson, are joined by Mayor B.J. Murphy, right and their children and grandchildren in lighting the Christmas tree Tuesday night at the Lenoir County courthouse. Not shown in the photo is Lenoir County Commission Chairman Craig Hill, who also helped light the tree.

Sara Pezzoni / The Free Press

By Junious Smith III / Staff writer

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 20:01 PM.

The recently elected members of the boards for Kinston and Lenoir County fittingly set off a celebration for the area.

Craig Hill, B.J. Murphy, Robbie Swinson and Wynn Whittington all participated in the ceremonial tree lighting ceremony for the seventh annual Holly Day celebration Tuesday at the courthouse.

Hill was appointed as the new Lenoir County chairman at Monday’s commissioner meeting, while Murphy was sworn in for his second straight term as mayor at a city council meeting the same day.

At the same council meeting, Swinson was sworn in for the third consecutive time with Whittington going through the process for the first time.

The ceremony was symbolic of how the leaders hope the city and county can work together.

Hill said it is vital for Kinston and Lenoir County to have symbolism and back it up with results in the future.

“I think this is another example of the city and county working closely, and I hope we can do more things together,” Hill said. “If we can all work together, this will be a better place.”

Murphy said the city needs the help of the county and vice versa.

“The success of one governmental entity is success for all,” Murphy said. “Likewise, failure of one entity is failure for all. We must continue forging this relationship, and tonight was another way to show we’re working in one accord.”

As far as the event, the mayor said the event is great for downtown Kinston. Stores and restaurants on Herritage Street were open, providing discounts and Christmas cheer to residents.

“Tonight’s event is exciting because this is when we officially kickoff the holiday season in our community,” Murphy said. “The Holly Days event is a culmination of city, county, Pride and small businesses getting together with our youth and the arts community to celebrate the holiday season.”

Pride of Kinston Executive Director Adrian King said the celebration has grown in popularity each year and had been helpful to the businesses in the area.

“The Pride and county bought a Christmas tree together several years ago, and it has just become almost a staple in the holiday season,” King said. “We’ve had Miss North Carolina here one year, high school basketball teams and local celebrities.

“The celebration was initially held to help merchants get more customers during the Christmas season. Now the event has been part of our seasonal culture, preceding the Christmas parade.”

Rick Vernon, host of Down East Today with Tutt Media Group, was the master of ceremonies, saying he enjoyed what the event stood for.

“It’s a great way to bring the city and county together,” Vernon said. “It’s great to see kids, senior citizens and community leaders coming together.”

Chasity Carraway, who was recently crowned Miss Outstanding Teen for Kinston/Lenoir County, said she was excited about seeing the hundreds of people at the celebration.

“This event brings the community together, and it’s great to have an opportunity for this,” Carraway said.

Kinston resident Arletha Jackson said she enjoys this time of the year because of the positivity.

“I love the holidays and it’s a great time to be joyous,” Jackson said.

N.C. Rep. George Graham, D-Lenoir, attended the event, saying he’s been here each year.


“The holiday season is a wonderful time,” Graham said. “I grew up a couple of blocks from here at Carver Courts. It’s all about spirit, love and great people. There’s no other place I’d want to be.”

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.


Oath of Office Speech: Forward in Prosperity

City of Kinston Oath Office

Mayor BJ Murphy

December 2nd, 2013

“Forward in Prosperity”

Video (30 minute mark):

Years ago, the people were subject to the will of a ruler. Whatever religion, law or political preference he or she desired was carried out throughout the land. Two hundred and fifty one years ago, the people of Kingston said, “enough”. The people rose up in defiance to claim what was rightfully theirs. We dropped the g, claimed the first Governor of this great state and became a part of the greatest union of states in the world’s history.

Today, the people of our lands choose who lead them. The people’s preferences of character, humility and policy are chosen through a democratic process. And, it is with your votes that you have chosen this body to carry out your wishes through policy.

This body is a reflection of our community. And, although we may have different stories as to how we got here, today we stand as one.

The Kinston Comeback is only just beginning. Our duties as a government body are to shape policies and create an infrastructure that enables you the business owners, you the church leaders, you the civic organizers, you the future of our community to focus on your strengths to make Kinston a great community.

This body might have microphones and a budget, but you have the vocal chords and the pen.

What you can expect from this body is simple. We will be reactive out of necessity, but proactive on purpose.

Government is designed to be a methodical body, responding to the needs of its people through fair and legal means. We will continue policies that provide us with clean water, reliable electricity, good roads and safe neighborhoods.

We will proactively continue the policies that have started this comeback. We will be more aggressive in planning the redevelopment of Kinston. We will be more engaged with recruiting new businesses, both large and small. We will use the power of our offices to strengthen our resolve for growth, using whatever fair and legal means we have available.

We will reduce the phrases of “east” and “west” and instead focus hyper local attention to a street block, a neighborhood, a school zone or highway corridor. We will not stand for a division of communities, but rather focus on solutions for each unique situation.

The slogan of the City of Kinston depicted on our City Seal says, “Forward in Prosperity.” This dream of prosperity can only happen if this body of one, along with its citizens agree that this is our goal…prosperity.

I challenge our citizens to seek out opportunities to serve your neighbors. To be vigilant for your neighborhood. To be engaged with community events and to bring your children along to experience what a community really feels like.

I challenge our staff to treat each interaction with our citizens as an opportunity to serve, for that is what we are here to do.

I challenge the City Council and myself to go out of our way to develop individual relationships with our fellow school board members and county commissioners. Although we aren’t involved in the day-to-day affairs of either body, we are all inter-dependent on each other’s success. The failure of one body is the failure of all.

Furthermore, I challenge us all to be more involved in the lives of our young people. Make it a habit to attend a middle school basketball game, start or support an afterschool program and be involved in the lives of our youth. Learn what Snap Chat is or figure out what Twitter does, because this is where our kids are today. To help them grow and appreciate Kinston, we need to understand them better.

We will never know the exponential impact that we have when we issue an encouraging word, or by taking a group of kids to the Nature Center or by simply showing up at a recital.

Our responsibility is to instill hope. When people say, “I’m from Kinston” I want them to say it with pride. This comeback starts with us.

Prosperity can only be realized when we focus on the strengths of each student, each citizen, each business, each school, each neighborhood and together prosperity will be realized by “we the people” or otherwise known as Kinston.

Much like our forefathers claimed these grounds, today we must claim that we will move in one accord “Forward in Prosperity”.

May God bless our endeavors together.

Thank you.


KFP: Murphy, Swinson, Whittington take seats as mayor, city council during ceremony

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 20:35 PM.

Three candidates who won positions in Kinston’s municipal elections last month received their coronation during the last meeting of 2013.

At Monday’s regular meeting, B.J. Murphy was sworn in for a second term as Kinston mayor, while Robbie Swinson and Wynn Whittington took the oath of office as members of the city council.

Murphy was reelected as Kinston mayor, with Swinson and Whittington receiving the most votes for the city council.

Murphy said the major focus shouldn’t be on the members being elected, but on what they can provide for the citizens in Kinston.

“Being in office is not about me or the next person,” Murphy said. “It is about the service that we render to the people. My plan tonight (was) to expand the slogan found in our city seal, which is, Forward in Prosperity.”

Murphy said he is thankful to have the opportunity to serve Kinston for a second term as mayor.

“It certainly is an honor,” Murphy said. “I’m going to challenge our citizens, our staff, our council and myself to seek that prosperity that our community deserves. Our responsibility is to instill hope. When people say, ‘I’m from Kinston,’ I want them to say it with pride. The comeback starts with us.”

Swinson, who was elected to his third term as councilman, said the swearing-in ceremony was exciting, but paled in comparison to his inaugural one in 2005.

“It’s hard to compete with the first time,” Swinson said.

Swinson said he’s appreciative of the voters wanting to keep the consistency going with the council.

“The community believes in myself and B.J.,” Swinson said. “They believe the city is moving in the right direction, which is a plus having the support of the community. I’m truly thankful for the voters.”

Paul Jones, senior resident of the Superior Court Judge for North Carolina, presided over the ceremony. Jones said the continuity of Murphy and Swinson was a good thing.

“The city has stability here,” Jones said. “The council has done a good job and that’s what people are looking forward to.”

Jones also had positive words for Whittington, as he has had interactions with the newcomer in years past as a Lenoir County school board attorney.

“Wynn is a career educator and should be a welcome addition to the council,” Jones said. “He has educated a lot of children here as a teacher and principal at Kinston High School.”

Whittington, who received the most votes for city council and will be taking Bobby Merritt’s seat, said he is excited and ready to work.

“I’m looking for the opportunity to serve the community, and work with the existing council, mayor and manager to move Kinston forward,” Whittington said. “I’m humbled and appreciative of the voters, who instilled the confidence in me to serve them. It hasn’t hit me until (Monday), but it’s starting to come to fruition and I can’t wait.”

City Manager Tony Sears said each swearing-in ceremony is special, whether it is in Kinston or any place else.

“It’s a very special time in American history,” Sears said. “Across the nation, people are being sworn in as proof that democracy works and leaders are elected by a majority vote. It’s a beautiful thing.”


Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

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WNCT: Kinston mayor takes oath

Posted: Dec 02, 2013 9:50 PM EST
Updated: Dec 02, 2013 9:50 PM EST
By WNCT STAFF – email

KINSTON, N.C. -Mayor B.J. Murphy took the oath of office for a second term Monday night.

Murphy won the election with a little over 46% percent of the total votes.

He urged people to be proactive in the Kinston community.

Kinston’s youngest mayor is also the first Republican mayor in 140 years.

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Video: Mayor Murphy appears on Reece Gardner Hour

Mayor Murphy appears at 20:30.



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WITN7: Three Candidates Vying For Kinston Mayor

by Lindsey Fry


Kinston residents have three candidates to choose from in the race for mayor.

BJ Murphy, who’s running for re-election, faces challengers Ralph Clark and John Marks.

Mayor Murphy says he wasn’t going to run for re-election, but decided to after persistence from his family and members of the community. He says he wants to continue the economic progress in the city.

Murphy says, “I’m an experienced leader with proven results. Take a ride around this community, the night life is coming back, buildings are being redeveloped.”

Candidate Ralph Clark, a former city manager of Kinston, says he decided to run when he first heard Mayor Murphy was not going to run again. He says if elected, his first goal will be controlling city taxes and utility fees.

Clark says, “If you look at my experience at the things over the years in trying to have an understanding in local government. But also I’ve shown leadership skills over the years. And not only in the city government, but I’ve been a leader in national organizations, state organizations, churches, everywhere I’ve been I’ve served in some kind of leadership role.”

Candidate John Marks, a local pastor in Kinston, says his lack of experience in local government is what makes him the best choice.

Marks says “They are in city government. They’re on the inside looking out. I’m on the outside looking in. We do need plenty of jobs here in Kinston, a foundation for people to work. Some people are looking for work, we know that unemployment is still high, but we need to bring in businesses that will create jobs and have our people back at work.”

Early voting continues through November 2nd. Election day is November 5th.


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K-Day Celebration

KFP: K-Day shines through rain

By Junious Smith III, Staff Writer

Lori Carmon wasn’t sure if people were going to show up to K-Day because of rain in the forecast, but inclement weather turned out to be a nonfactor.

Despite periods of rain throughout the day, hundreds showed up to the sixth annual K-Day celebration at the Georgia K. Battle Community Center, an event Carmon founded with the inspiration from the late Delmont Miller.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, but believed in the people,” Carmon said. “It’s a great turnout to be raining and I’m already looking forward to next year being bigger and better.”

Mayor B.J. Murphy delivered the proclamation for K-Day, which has grown in popularity each year with activities for the children, food and musical entertainment.

The Kinston High School football team was also honored at the event for their work on and off the field.

“The kids feel really good about getting honored by the community they live in,” Kinston head coach Ryan Gieselman said. “It’s special to them knowing the hard work they’ve put in is supported by the community.”

Linebacker Javon Baylor felt the team could use this day as motivation.

“We’re always striving for the best,” Baylor said. “It’s good to see the community behind us and knowing they have our back.”

Quarterback Tyquan Canady said the rain wasn’t a deterrent for him, adding this was the first K-Day he had been to.

“It’s a good event and keeps the kids out of trouble,” Canady said.

IndyLeft PAC founder David Bell attended the event to give support to Kinston High School during its homecoming weekend, as well as to Carmon for making the event possible.

“This is a great thing Lori is trying to do and we need to give her as much support as possible to keep it going,” Bell said. “The kids are having fun and enjoying activities on the East side of the community.”

Bell, a local political activist, also used the time to talk with Murphy about an important issue.

“I had the chance to speak with the mayor discussing bipartisan efforts to attack poverty in the city,” Bell said.

Sherri Jackson, co-owner of The Platinum Club, helped prepare food for K-Day. She said it was great to have an event promoting togetherness in the community.

“We want to give back to the community, especially the kids and the elderly,” Jackson said. “They definitely deserve it.”

Annie Ralph, an eldress at St. John Free Will Baptist Church, volunteered to cook as well.

“I love to help out, so I decided to come out,” Ralph said. “I love to cook and love the kitchen.”

Many kids enjoyed themselves at the event, including 8-year old Khari Hatfield.

“It’s good for everyone to enjoy themselves, play and have fun,” Hatfield said.

Qwonrice Cole, 10, liked the social aspect of the event.

“It’s fun to get out and learn about one another,” Cole said. “We’ve been making friends out here.”

Isaiah Hatfield, 10, looked at K-Day as an escape from school.

“K-Day is a good day for the kids to come out,” Hatfield said. “It’s Saturday, and we need a little break from class. I wish they could do this every weekend.”

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 and Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.


WNCT-9: “K-Day” goes on despite bad weather

By Erica Anderson, Digital Journalist

KINSTON, N.C. -People in Kinston braved the bad weather to celebrate “K-Day”.

Saturday, marked the sixth year for the event. Making this year even more memorable, Mayor BJ Murphy read a proclamation at Saturday’s celebration.

“K-Day” was started back in 2008 by Lori Carmon. Carmon says, Kinstonian Delmont Miller, inspired the event; however, miller passed away before the first “K-Day” celebration.

The event aims to gather past, present, and fans of Kinston High School. Carmon says “K-Day” is not just for Vikings, but for the entire community.

“If you ever lived in Kinston, if you ever attended a school, if you know someone that attended a school, it’s just unity in the community. Kinston finally has a day!” said Carmon.

Carmon says the event grows every year.

This year’s event featured performers, music, a clown, free balloon animals, and free barbeque.

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TACC-9 Commercial for Mayor BJ Murphy


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KFP: Podcast with Mayor BJ Murphy

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