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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Durham Public Access Studio holds open house today

Posted By on Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Last fall, it appeared Durham would lose its public access TV channel, potentially closing an avenue for community voices. With the help of dozens of volunteers, benefactors and The Peoples Channel in Chapel Hill, not only has the channel been resurrected, but the Durham Media Center is expanding. (Read Fiona Morgan's coverage for the Indy.) The public can learn more about community media at the center's open house today from 3-6 p.m. at 110 E. Geer St. 688-0018...

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Friday, July 10, 2009

DHS announces major changes to 287(g); Guilford County adds program

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM

In the wake of a Government Accountability Office report that found widespread inconsistencies among law enforcement agencies participating in the voluntary immigration enforcement program, 287(g), the Department of Homeland Security today announced a major overhaul of the program. DHS is requiring all local law enforcement agencies to sign a new, universal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), within 90 days, specifying the program's purpose as "identifying and processing for removal, criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety or danger to the community.” Previously, GAO found, the program's mandate to deport illegal immigrants convicted of “violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime...

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Lewis Cheek joins law firm suing Durham County

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 6:41 PM

One of Lewis Cheek's final actions as a Durham County commissioner was to reject an independent survey of Jordan Lake, saying the county should instead "take ownership of the issue" by relying on a private survey commissioned by developer Neal Hunter. "I don't think we should get into budget ordinances and amendments in order to spend $100,000 that we really don't have right now," Cheek said at the Nov. 24, 2008 meeting, in moving to defer action on the independent survey. "Frankly, and I'll be very candid, I feel very uncomfortable getting involved with that, given that this is my...

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Day 5 of candidate filings: Bell has a challenger; North Hills GM running for Raleigh Council

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 4:35 PM

With one week down for the 2009 election candidate filings, Durham Mayor Bill Bell has a challenger, Steve Williams, a Durham native who grew up in Walltown, and graduated from St. Augustine’s College, where he received a track-and-field scholarship. His platform, which is listed on his Web site, includes crime, economic development, the environment, housing and education. Meanwhile, a third candidate has entered the Chapel Hill Town Council race, Jon Dehart, a mortgage account representative. There are four candidates running for three seats on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, the most recent being J.M. (Joe Green), a UNC education...

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Billboard interests try to woo Durham Crime Cabinet

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 2:56 PM

This post was updated at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 11. Like an itinerant preacher, Patrick Byker has scoured nearly every corner of Durham proselytizing the gospel according to Fairway Outdoor Advertising: That billboards are selfless benefactors for communities and add to the common good. So it’s not surprising that on his tour to convince Durham leaders of billboards’ healing qualities, he stopped by his old stomping grounds: The City-County Crime Cabinet, for which he served as secretary from 1997 to 1999. Byker, now an attorney with K&L Gates, was one of several hired guns for Fairway Outdoor Advertising, which...

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Falls Lake beaches close due to high bacteria levels

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Wake County has closed two recreational swimming areas at Falls Lake indefinitely due to high levels of disease-causing bacteria. The beaches, Beaverdam and Sandling, are each located on the northern shore of Falls Lake, next to Highway 50, which cuts across Raleigh's drinking-water source to the east. This is the fourth time this summer that Wake County has shut down beaches (xls, 32 KB) at Falls Lake due to high levels of bacteria, according to records provided to the Indy. In its most recent finding, Wake County detected levels of the bacteria, enterococci, that were more than twice the...

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Anti- and pro-Obama activists clash in Raleigh

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Jaymes Powell reports for the Indy about a clash in Raleigh between pro-Obama and anti-Obama activists.  Dozens of protesters, arguing everything from President Obama’s health care plan to even race, verbally clashed outside of the United States Federal Courthouse in Downtown Raleigh Thursday afternoon and were separated by city police. The liberal group MoveOn.org organized the rally and had about 30 demonstrators cheering on universal health care. A group of about 40 conservatives, some saying they were organized by the Wake County Republican Party, counter-protested, carrying signs, chanting and receiving a large number of approving car honks. At one...

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Czajkowski, Bell, Chilton, Meeker and Enloe file in CH, Durham, Carrboro, Raleigh for mayor

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Is that the sound of a cash register? First term Chapel Hill Town Councilman Matt Czajkowski has filed for mayor of Chapel Hill; like fellow mayoral candidate Augustus Cho, he has not opted to participate in the voter-owned election program, allowing them to raise large sums for their campaigns. Czajkowski loaned himself more than $17,000 for his 2007 town council campaign. Town Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt is also expected to run, but has yet to file. Update at 5 p.m.: Matt Pohlman has filed for Chapel Hill Town Council. He has not enrolled in the voter-owned election program. Mark Chilton has...

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New wildlife clinic to replace Piedmont's

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Four days after the Piedmont Wildlife Center closed its clinic, a new one has formed to care for sick, orphaned and injured animals. Triangle Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic will launch in early August at 1417 Seaton Road in Durham, the same location as the former Piedmont hospital.  As Rebekah Cowell reported in the Indy this week, Piedmont Wildlife Center closed its hospital because it had run out of money to continue its rehabilitation services, the center's primary mission. According to a Triangle Wildlife, twrc_press_release1 Pamela Bayne is the founding president. Triangle Wildlife has applied to be a 501 3 (c) nonprofit; prospective...

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day three begins for candidate filings

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Two days down, eight to go: Candidate filing for the 2009 election opened Monday, with candidates seeking the top spot as Chapel Hill mayor and duels brewing in Durham Ward 2 and on the Wake County school board. In Raleigh Council District D, incumbent Thomas Crowder is expected to run against architect Ted Van Dyk, who had not filed as of press time, but has announced he will soon. Two at-large seats are up for grabs Bill Shakespeare, Ricky Lee Sartain and Robert Claris hope to dethrone incumbents Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin, who plan to run as well. The board of...

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Durham's George's Garage closes

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 12:17 PM

After 15 years of feeding big lunchtime crowds at its popular hot and cold buffet bar and offering sit-down fine dining featuring seafood and sushi,  Ninth Street institution George's Garage closed its doors last week. A spokesman for owner Giorgios Bakatsias says the lease has expired on the building, and that Bakatsias is pursuing "new ventures." The 15,000 square foot space also housed a bakery and a market for takeout food, as well as an adjacent private party space and lounge called the G-loft. Bakatsias welcomes feedback and input from former patrons and the public on the restaurant's Web site, www.garagerestaurant.com....

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Piedmont Wildlife Center closes today

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 8:56 AM

The Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham has announced its closing today, due to a lack of money. According to its most recent tax return available, piedmont-2007  the nonprofit group had $367,000 in revenue and $365,000 in expenses. Most of its income came from public donations.  Look for a followup story in the print edition of the Indy this week....

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

HELP for health care, with Hagan's OK

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 4:42 PM

The U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported its health-care reform bill today, with the Democrats -- including the previously fence-sitting Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC -- unanimous in their support. It includes a public option. Whether it's a strong public option or a weak public option is open to interpretation. But Hagan said she was looking for a state-based approach. And the HELP bill is state-based, albeit with a federal insurance product somewhat akin to Medicare. The devil is, naturally, in the many, many details. And from what I read, the HELP bill is only one of...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A union contract at Smithfield Packing: It only took 17 years

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Congratulations to the union and management at Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, the world's biggest pork slaughtering and packing plant. After 17 years of pitched company vs. union warfare, the two sides have finally come together on a four-year contract -- which was ratified by the workers today. From now on, it's Local 1208 of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers). The union's statement is below the fold....

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Obamacare: He's on call ... well, his peeps are (in Durham, July 7)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 5:35 PM

President Obama's "Organizing for America" operation is on the ground in NC, with forums on health care reform scheduled for Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill over the next couple of weeeks. The Durham event is Tuesday, July 7 at St. Joseph's AME Church. Raleigh (July 13) and Chapel Hill (July 20) events are at places TBA. All starts: 7 pm....

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