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Friday, September 30, 2011

Constitutional law center withdraws controversial NCCU proposal

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 3:01 PM

NCCU School of Law A controversial proposal to bring a center for the N.C. Constitution to the N.C. Central University law school is now off the table. The proposal was withdrawn in a letter Tuesday from Bob Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice and director for the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law. In the letter to NCCU School of Law Dean Raymond Pierce, Orr said he had a change of heart. "...for the past several months it has become increasingly clear that my time and efforts can be best spent elsewhere," Orr wrote in the letter (PDF). "Starting a...

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UNC housekeeping report reveals "lack of trust, overall frustration," Thorp offers changes

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Update: Former Director of Housekeeping Services Bill Burston "is no longer employed" by UNC as of Wednesday, a campus spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Burston was removed from his director role in June amid employee complaints and reassigned to a new role. University Mail Services Director Lea Holt was named interim. The school will begin a search for a new full-time director immediately. PRM Consulting, the Washington, D.C., firm UNC hired in March to investigate claims of discrimination, harassment and other poor working conditions in its housing department, released 45 recommendations for change Thursday, including a new performance evaluation for managers and...

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Judge won't stop Durham County from granting sewer service to 751 South

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 5:15 PM

A superior court judge today said he won't stop Durham County from entering into contracts or issuing permits to the developer for sewer services. Citizens currently suing Durham County had asked for an injunction and temporary restraining order that would stop the county from granting sewer service to Southern Durham Development, stating, among other concerns, that if the county agreed to give services to the developer, that could give the developer vested rights in the project—a powerful legal standing that could defeat the property owners' lawsuit. Superior Court Judge G. Wayne Abernathy, visiting from Alamance County, denied the motion. The...

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Friday, September 23, 2011

751 South sewer report details potential city-county conflict

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

file illustration by V.C. Rogersproposed site of 751 South development City officials aren't so sure they want the county encroaching into their territory to help move the 751 South project along, according to a county report (PDF) sent to Durham County Commissioners Friday. Commissioners requested the research on Sept. 6, when a representative from Southern Durham Development asked them to consider providing sewer services to the 167-acre project site near Jordan Lake. The developers had tried asking the City Council for water and sewer service, but council members said they wouldn't consider doing so until after a pending civil lawsuit...

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Bowser now supports Karriker for commish; vote Monday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM

photo courtesy of Pam KarrikerPam Karriker Durham County Commissioners are scheduled to vote Monday on whom to appoint to replace former board member Becky Heron. Chances are, it could be full-time volunteer and former banker Pam Karriker who gets the job. Commissioners voted once already on Sept. 12, but were tied 2 to 2, with commissioners Michael Page and Brenda Howerton supporting Karriker, and commissioners Joe Bowser and Ellen Reckhow supporting former planning commissioner Wendy Jacobs. At the meeting, Reckhow and Bowser said they would be comfortable declaring a deadlock and sending the decision to the county clerk of court,...

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The personal stories behind Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM

The repeal of the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy went into effect one minute past midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 20. It was the minute Haley Warden had long waited for. “It’s a little personal,” she said later that evening as she hung flyers that read “Goodbye, DADT” at a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Celebration at Alivia’s in Durham. She had a partner in the Air Force, she explains, who “dealt with some issues.” That partner is Lauren Rodgers, who arrived at Alivia’s and gave Warden a quick kiss. Since 1993, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell prohibited discrimination against...

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With DADT now history, Isaacson eager to return to UNC, honor military commitment

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Sara Isaacson, the former UNC ROTC cadet who was told to repay $79,285.14 in federal scholarship money after she informed her commanding officer that she is a lesbian, said she is relieved that the wait is complete and she is ready to re-enroll after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed Tuesday. File Photo by Jeremy Lange“It was just a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, just the sense of relief that it was finally here and the sense of pride that I was part of the enormous group of people that worked for so many years to repeal the...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Durham County drafts request to attorney general for DSS investigation

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Last Monday, Durham County Commissioners agreed to ask state authorities to look into the events surrounding the recent firing of former social services director Gerri Robinson. Today, county officials shared the letter they wrote to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, asking his office to probe the incident. The letter (PDF) is dated Tuesday, Sept. 20....

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Durham county manager: I recommend denial of sewer services to 751 South

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 3:12 PM

map courtesy Durham County governmentThis map shows the distance between the proposed 751 South site (west) and the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant (east), both in red. Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin says county commissioners will hear from engineers Monday on how and whether the county could provide sewer services for the pending 751 South development. But the question isn't whether the county can provide the services, Ruffin said. It's whether the county should allow developers to pay to connect to the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant. The sewage treatment plant was not intended to serve the nearly 170-acre development site. The...

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Department sources: Durham sheriff to resign in January

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

A campaign photo of Sheriff Worth Hill. Word circulated the Durham courthouse today that longtime Sheriff Worth Hill, 74, will be stepping down from his post in January, but no specific reason was cited by sources inside the department. Hill hasn't made an official announcement yet, and his administrative assistant said just before 5 p.m. that Hill wouldn't be back until Wednesday morning to confirm or deny the reports. Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin says he hasn't heard from Hill on the matter. If Hill is to resign, Durham County Commissioners would have to appoint someone to serve the remainder...

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Law school faculty committee still mulling Pope-funded constitution center

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 3:49 PM

courtesy N.C. Central UniversityNCCU School of Law The curriculum committee of the N.C. Central University School of Law is still reviewing a proposal (PDF) from the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law to establish a center on the NCCU campus, according to university officials. The proposal came from NCICL director and former N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Bob Orr, but stirred controversy with some faculty, law school students and alumni because Republican activist Art Pope, is a major funder of the organization. Pope's family foundation would provide $600,000 start-up money for a center to study the state constitution. The proposition also...

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Bowser requests investigation into DSS director dismissal

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Editor's Note: Read an updated version of this story in the Sept. 14 issue of the Indy, on newsstands Wednesday and online Wednesday afternoon. With rumors circulating the past three weeks about possible unethical and illegal conduct among the leadership of Durham's Department of Social Services, Durham County Commissioner Joe Bowser requested Monday that the county recruit a state agency to investigate the situation. Bowser himself serves on the board of the Department of Social Services and has been subject to scrutiny since July, when he and two other members of the DSS board voted to terminate the department's former...

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Durham commissioners split on Heron replacement

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to correct the year of the next election (Got a little ahead of myself!) and to add comments from Clerk of Court Archie Smith. Durham county commissioners couldn't agree Monday on who they want to replace former commissioner Becky Heron, who resigned in August due to poor health. The commissioners convened a special meeting at 5 p.m., briefly discussed how they would vote, and signed their names to ballots. Commissioners Michael Page and Brenda Howerton voted for Pam Karriker a former banker who currently volunteers full time. Karriker has committed to at least...

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Commissioners nix public discussion of board candidates to spare feelings; will vote Monday on Heron's replacement

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 5:18 PM

As they considered who to appoint to replace former colleague Becky Heron, Durham County Commissioners Wednesday decided they wouldn't talk about the candidates' qualities or qualifications in a public meeting, or rank their favorites, as had been planned. Heron resigned effective Aug. 1 due to poor health. The commissioners interviewed eight candidates for the job on Tuesday, and before they adjourned, they discussed using time during Wednesday's work session for each commissioner to rank his or her top three favorite choices. But when the commissioners met Wednesday, they decided that discussing the candidates or ranking them might end up offending...

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Commissioners to consider 751 South sewer service request at Sept. 26 meeting

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 4:04 PM

County commissioners have asked for more information by their Sept. 26 meeting so they may decide whether to commit sewage treatment services to the proposed 751 South development, a large project planned for almost 170 acres near Jordan Lake. An engineer for Southern Durham Development has asked commissioners to allow the development to connect to county pipelines and send up to 600,000 gallons per day of wastewater to the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant on N.C. 55. The developer's request comes to the county a month after Durham's City Council postponed any decision to provide utilities to the development until a...

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Durham commissioners could vote Wednesday on Heron's replacement

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 6:16 PM

County Commissioner Becky Heron resigned effective Aug. 1 due to her health. Durham County commissioners spent four hours Tuesday interviewing candidates to replace Becky Heron, who resigned in August due to her health. Eight Durham residents answered questions about education, budget cuts, taxation, development and how they would deal with conflict if the board appoints them to the role. There are 14 months left in Heron's term. The four remaining commissioners have scheduled two hours during a work session that begins at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the applicants and vote on their top three candidates. Although 10 people initially...

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Raleigh decides food trucks aren't the boogeyman after all, passes new rules to allow vendors in city

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Updated with additional reporting from Bob Geary After a year of wrangling, the Raleigh City Council finally approved new food truck regulations today that will allow mobile vendors to operate on private property. The vote was 6-2 with Councilmen John Odom and Thomas Crowder opposed. File Photo by Jeremy LangeThe new ordinance, which will take effect Oct. 1, provides that food trucks must be at least 100 feet from the main entrance or outdoor dining area of any brick-and-mortar restaurant and at least 50 feet from any food vending cart such as a hot dog stand. The trucks can operate...

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751 South developers seek sewer from county; commissioners to discuss Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM

file illustration by V.C. Rogers Editor's Note: This blog entry has been updated since it was originally posted. See the end of the posting for the new information. Consultants and attorneys for Southern Durham Development, the company that wants to build the much-debated 751 South project near Jordan Lake, have asked county officials to consider serving the development with sewer services from the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant on N.C. 55. Durham County Commissioners will consider the request at their work session already scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., County Manager Mike Ruffin said. The request comes after Durham's City Council...

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