Monday, January 26, 2015


Rumors Swirl Around an Obama Asheville Home Purchase

Verne Sez: Why does Obama want to move to NC? I know he loves Chicago and Hawaii, and grew up in Kenya. How would Pat McCrory handle this?And why are comments not allowed on this story? What's to hide, FBI?

Rumors have begun to surface that the Obama Family have purchased an Asheville home for use after the President’s second term ends. While the White House has not confirmed the news, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to those people who have followed the President’s recent visits to Asheville.

Obama speaking during one of his Asheville visits.
Obama speaking during one of his Asheville visits.
When Obama visited Asheville in 2013, he hinted then that he and Michelle thought Asheville might be their next stop. As noted in Greybeard’s blog post about that visit, he was partial to the people and the food in the area. And that wasn’t his only trip to the NC mountains. In his 2011 campaign visit to Asheville, he spoke fondly of Asheville, as noted in another Greybeard blog. The most recent talk about the Obamas relocating to the area indicates a home already has been purchased, though again this hasn’t been confirmed. Another point of discussion is whether the home would be a permanent home or a getaway vacation home. While some pundits favor a larger city like Chicago or New York for their permanent home, others point out the peace and solitude the whole family would find in the area.
Regardless of whether it’s true, it’s great to see the fine words about Asheville. While it’s news that Obama might be becoming our neighbor, it isn’t news that the western NC mountains make a great retirement location. Greybeard Realty has known about the good value of an Asheville retirement for a long time. As to the veracity of the latest rumors, we will keep an ear to the news and keep you posted when it’s confirmed as true. And if you’ve been considering retiring up this way, it may be time to follow through. After all, chances are that an Asheville retirement has just received a Presidential endorsement.
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THE ENDOSCOPY CLINIC  -- What goes on there can literally save you life!


I went to the GI doctor this past week for an endoscopy. Stomach acid seemed  to searing my throat. It was time to get a bir worried again.

This kind of condition has  bedeviled me before. And I have felt it would be wise to get  checked out. I have also had three colonoscopies during the past ten years or so. Polyps showed up on the last one. They are like IED's in your gut, and must be excised because they can become cancerous.

Most of us have also had friends who opted to take a short cut, give the GI clinic a wide berth, and hoped for the best. Many of these paid  a big price because they feared the procedure, or didn't want to find bad news, or just didn't want to go to the trouble. I never figured that was the way to go.

During my fifteen or so years in  Wilmington, I have gone to Wilmington Gastroentrology for these procedures. I have a lot of confidence in them, and that confidence has been earned. Their clinic on Oleander Drive is spacious, modern, attractive, and features the absolute latest technology available for providing safe, efficient, procedures. The OR staff includes Board-Certified surgeon Dr. Steven D. Klein, several RNs and the anesthesiologist. There are a total of seven gastroenterologists on staff.

If it sounds like I'm making a promotional push, I am, in a sense, because I think this medical practice is exceptional. Any of you who have concerns about throat and stomach acid will want to get to know these professionals if in the Wilmington area.


What one wants to avoid at all costs is esophogeal cancer. Once it has become established, surgery may not be an option. Use of a stent can open up the esophagus, and dilation of the "swallowing tube" useful. Additionally, radiation and chemotherapy can be employed. But the metastasizing malignancy may prevent swallowing altogether, with the result that the patient eventually chokes to death.  prevents swallowing, and the patient eventually chokes to death.
Esophageal cancer occurs when cancer cells develop in the esophagus, a tube-like structure that runs from your throat to your stomach. Food goes from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus. The cancer starts at the inner layer of the esophagus and can spread throughout the other layers of the esophagus and to other parts of the body (metastasis).
  1. The five-year survival rate of people with esophageal cancer is about 17%. However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the stage (or extent) of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. The five-yearsurvival rate of people with cancer located only in the esophagus is about 39%.
  2. As this graphic indicates, the State of North Carolina is one of the nation's hot spots for this very serious cancer.

  2. It's thought that chronic irritation of your esophagus may contribute to the DNA changes that cause esophageal cancer. Factors that cause irritation in the cells of your esophagus and increase your risk of esophageal cancer include:
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Having bile reflux
    • Having difficulty swallowing because of an esophageal sphincter that won't relax (achalasia)
    • Drinking very hot liquids
    • Eating few fruits and vegetables
    • Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    • Being obese
    • Having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus)
    • Undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
    • Smoking


I didn't hesitate when the Physician's Assistant to Dr. Klein told me that, after an evaluation of my case, it was decided that an endoscopy was needed to determine the risk I  was facing. For several nights in succession my throat and upper esophogeal tract seemed seared by stomach acid. It was very painful and very distressful. 

This mistreatment of your esophagus does not go unnoticed by your body, which may react by turning normal cells into malignant ones. The discomfort is bad enough. What it signals over a period of time can be much worse. 

How do doctors perform an upper GI endoscopy?

A doctor performs an upper GI endoscopy in a hospital or an outpatient center. An intravenous (IV) needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The anesthetic numbs your throat and calms the gag reflex. The health care staff will monitor your vital signsExternal NIH Link and keep you as comfortable as possible. 

You’ll be asked to lie on your side on an exam table. The doctor will carefully feed the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum.A small camera mounted on the endoscope will send a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.
During the upper GI endoscopy, the doctor may
  • perform a biopsy of tissue in your upper GI tract. You won’t feel the biopsy.
  • stop any bleeding.
  • perform other specialized procedures, such as dilating strictures.
​​​The procedure most often takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing, and many people fall asleep during the procedure. 

I came out clean as a whistle. No problems of any consequence. I can thank God and my doctor for that.

But Durrene and I know that some of the patients who sat in the waiting room did not receive the same good news. They might have been advised of serious problems which would require radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery for stent implantation, for example, to save their lives!

The trick is to find and employ the services of a good gastroenterologist at a specialized medical center like Wilmington Gastroenterology. Timing is important. Cancer won't wait. It won't be ignored. I was lucky in that no serious problems were found. I was smart in that I moved without delay. 

Please do the same, and God bless you! 
Verne Strickland, Wilmington NC

MEGA VOTE -- How Congress Is Voting -- NORTH CAROLINA EDITION & SEVENTH DISTRICT: Senator Richard Burr, Senator Thom Tillis, Rep. David Rouzer

Verne Strickland USA DOT COM 1/26/2015. 
January 26, 2015
In this MegaVote for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes
  • Senate: Keystone XL Pipeline - Climate Change
  • Senate: Keystone XL Pipeline - Climate Change
  • Senate: Keystone XL Pipeline - Energy Efficiency Standards
  • House: Gas Pipeline Permit Deadlines – Passage
  • House: Federal Abortion Funding Ban – Passage
Upcoming Congressional Bills
  • Senate: Keystone XL Pipeline
  • House: Human Trafficking Prioritization Act
  • House: LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act

Recent Senate Votes
Keystone XL Pipeline - Climate Change - Vote Rejected (50-49, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate rejected a Schatz, D-Hawaii, amendment to a bill that would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities known as the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment would express the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it. By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption of the amendment to 60 votes.

Sen. Richard Burr voted NO
Sen. Thom Tillis voted NO

Keystone XL Pipeline - Climate Change - Vote Agreed to (56-42, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate agreed to table (kill) a Sanders, I-Vt., amendment to a bill that would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities known as the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment would express the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and caused by human activities. It also would urge the U.S. to overhaul its energy system away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy.

Sen. Richard Burr voted YES
Sen. Thom Tillis voted YES

Keystone XL Pipeline - Energy Efficiency Standards - Vote Agreed to (94-5, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate adopted a Portman, R-Ohio, amendment to a bill that would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities known as the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment would would direct the General Services Administration to establish best practices regarding energy-efficiency in commercial real estate buildings, including those that house federal agencies. It would require the GSA to incorporate energy-efficiency standards into its building leasing program for federal agencies.

Sen. Richard Burr voted YES
Sen. Thom Tillis voted YES

Recent House Votes
Gas Pipeline Permit Deadlines – Passage - Vote Passed (253-169, 11 Not Voting)

The House passed a bill that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny a natural gas pipeline project within one year after receiving a completed application. Federal agencies responsible for issuing permits would have to issue a ruling within 90 days of when FERC issues its final environmental statement for the project.

Rep. David Rouzer voted YES

Federal Abortion Funding Ban – Passage - Vote Passed (242-179, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed a bill that would permanently prohibit the use of federal funds, facilities or staff to provide abortion coverage and services, except in cases of rape or incest and for saving the life of the woman. It also would prohibit individuals and small business from receiving federal subsidies and small businesses from receiving federal subsidies and tax credits under the 2010 health care overhaul to purchase plans that cover abortions.

Rep. David Rouzer voted YES

Upcoming Votes
Keystone XL Pipeline - S1

The Senate will consider a bill that would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities known as the Keystone XL pipeline.

Human Trafficking Prioritization Act - HR514

The House will consider a bill to prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government.

LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act - HR351

The House will consider a bill to provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas.

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