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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Godspeed, John Glenn

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s cold out there, so pour yourself a cup of Joe and join us for your morning primer. 1. John Glenn, American hero, RIP. The first man to orbit the Earth—not to mentioned a Marine Corps combat vet, U.S. senator from Ohio, and 1984 presidential candidate—died yesterday at the age of ninety-five. From The New York Times obit, which is worth reading in its entirety: In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country’s imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures...

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Apocalypse … Now? The INDY’s Election Day Live Blog, Part 2

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Welcome to the INDY’s Election Day live blog, part 2! There are, as of this writing, approximately 240 minutes until polls close in North Carolina and our long national nightmare finally (hopefully?) comes to an end. Throughout the day, the INDY will have a team of reporters out of the streets of the Triangle, talking to voters, looking into reports of election weirdness, and generally being on the lookout for any news that breaks. As they report in, I’ll be updating this blog. (And with more frequency later in the day, after we put this week’s newspaper to bed;...

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Apocalypse … Now? The INDY’s Election Day Live Blog

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 9:06 AM

Welcome to the INDY’s Election Day live blog! There are, as of this writing, approximately 630 minutes until polls close in North Carolina and our long national nightmare finally (hopefully?) comes to an end. Throughout the day, the INDY will have a team of reporters out of the streets of the Triangle, talking to voters, looking into reports of election weirdness, and generally being on the lookout for any news that breaks. As they report in, I’ll be updating this blog. (And with more frequency later in the day, after we put this week’s newspaper to bed; one of the...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Two Former Chapel Hill Mayors Weigh in on American Legion Property

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 1:47 PM

The spicy question of what will happen to the American Legion property in Chapel Hill—one of the last large tracts of undeveloped land in the town—continues to heat up.  In the last week, two former Chapel Hill mayors—Kevin Foy and Rosemary Waldorf—have written letters to current Mayor Pam Hemminger and the Town Council urging the town to exercise its option to buy the property.  A developer, Woodfield Investments, entered into a contract to purchase the thirty-six acres for $10 million last year, after the Town Council at the time passed on the opportunity to buy it. Many viewed that as...

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chapel Hill Is Probably Getting a Wegmans, Becoming a 'Foodie Place'

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Good news for the "Bring Wegmans to the NC Triangle Area - Please" Facebook group: the grocery retailer announced yesterday that it intends to open a new store in Chapel Hill in the next few years.  The spot it has selected is on U.S. 15-501, just east of the Wendy's—you know the Wendy's—on a piece of property currently occupied by Performance AutoMall, which is moving to The Streets at Southpoint next year. Leaders from the Town of Chapel Hill and the Orange County Board of Commissioners announced the news in a release yesterday. “We are working proactively to bring new...

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Trump Says Veterans Who Take Their Own Lives 'Can't Handle It' ... For Real

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 8:18 AM

Good morning, one and all. If for some reason you endured a media blackout yesterday, consider yourself lucky. Sharing this stuff with you makes me jealous—like when my wife binge watched the first two seasons of "Game of Thrones" after I had already experienced the carnage. 1) Donald Trump kind of says military suicides are a result of "weakness"—and even kind of saying something like that is pretty bad. Go ahead. Read that again. Let the shock pass through you and go back for seconds so you can take it all in. Remember when Trump said he liked veterans who...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chapel Hill Town Council Member Donna Bell Dinged by State Board of Elections

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 1:02 PM

The Committee to Elect Donna Bell does not appear to be an especially scrupulous operation.  The Chapel Hill Town Council member's reelection campaign has been fined $500—the maximum amount allowable for a municipal race, per state law—by the State Board of Elections for submitting its 2015 year-end campaign finance report six weeks late. Despite the penalty being assessed two months ago, Bell has yet to pay it, according to Amy Strange, deputy director for campaign finance and operations at the SBOE. Bell's year-end report also, as the Chapel Hill Herald noted several months ago, shows several checks from developers—over $10,000 in...

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Friday, September 23, 2016

In Chapel Hill’s Ephesus-Fordham District, No Tools to Fight Bad Developments

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Two years ago, the part of Chapel Hill where Eastgate Crossing and Village Plaza and Ram’s Plaza collide (home to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Food Lion, and dozens of restaurants and shops) was cobbled together into a designated zoning district called Ephesus-Fordham and singled out for an experimental—to Chapel Hill—approach to development known as form-based code. The hope was that this new approach would streamline what had long been an excruciating review process for new projects in Chapel Hill. Today, Chapel Hill is so chockablock with hulking new apartment developments (with somewhere in the neighborhood of six thousand new apartment units...

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

UNC Sophomore Alleges She Was Raped By Football Player

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 1:57 PM

A UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore is expected to detail this afternoon a Valentine's Day rape she says she endured at Ram's Village, an on-campus apartment complex.  The alleged perpetrator? A UNC football player. According to statements released by the woman's attorney, Denise Branch—statements that the victim, Delaney Robinson, her father, Stacey Robinson, and Branch will read during a 2 p.m. press conference—the case has yet to be prosecuted, despite the fact that Robinson filed a report with the university's Title IX office. From the release: "I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the...

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Op-Ed: On Labor Day, A Tale of North Carolina’s Two Economies—and How to Give Those at the Bottom a Leg Up

Posted By on Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 9:36 AM

At first glance, North Carolina’s workers have a lot to celebrate this Labor Day. In many ways, it is the best of times. An economy based on textile and furniture manufacturing a generation ago is being rebuilt with the help of industries such as banking, high tech, health care, and pharmaceuticals. Our Tar Heel State is now adding jobs at the ninth-fastest rate in the country, and several areas are emerging as small-business hot spots. With the famed Research Triangle Park just down the road, a host of health and technology companies have fled the expensive Northeast Corridor to set...

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Meet the Latest Media Start-up: The Daily Tar Heel

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 2:01 PM

North Carolina’s newest newspaper start-up is the 123-year-old Daily Tar Heel. Yep, you read that right. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's student newspaper is rebranding itself in response to continued financial losses. Betsy O’Donovan, the DTH’s general manager, said the paper has been operating at a deficit since 2011. “In recent years, the annual deficit has hovered north of $200,000. When I was hired earlier this month, our investment accounts were just below $400,000,” O’Donovan wrote on Medium.  So the solution to that deficit? Do what the DTH has always done, but do it differently (but also ask...

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Monday, August 15, 2016

With Leadership in Transition, Where Does the Racial Equity Issue in Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools Stand?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 9:36 AM

In Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, long one of the most well-regarded school districts in North Carolina, 85 percent of African American male students in eighth grade do not pass end-of-grade reading tests. African American students are suspended at a rate seven times other students. The achievement gap—the difference between end-of-grade reading and math scores between white students and students of color—is 50 points.  Those are among the findings of a report issued last year by the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools, a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations in the area. (These outcomes are not substantially different from...

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will the New Plan for Chapel Hill's American Legion Property Make It Through?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 3:04 PM

During a, let’s say, spirited community meeting back in January, a large crowd of Chapel Hill residents made known its disgruntlement regarding a developer’s proposal to build a resort-style luxury-apartment complex on one of the last remaining chunks of undeveloped land in Chapel Hill. That property—thirty-six acres in all—is owned by the American Legion Post 6, and it sits just east of Fordham Boulevard and Ephesus Church Road. The Legion intends to sell the land for $10 million to Woodfield Investments, but the deal hasn’t gone through yet. The sale is conditional on a rezoning of the land, which the...

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Friday, May 13, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Pat McCrory, Bully Fighter

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Another day, another round of HB 2 news.  1. The feds won’t cut off our funding (yet).  Even though the Department of Justice is suing the state for violating the Civil Rights Act, the White House has announced that it will not defund North Carolina while the lawsuits are in progress.  North Carolina won’t lose billions in federal education money while the Department of Justice and state leaders spar over House Bill 2 in court, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday. The department sent state leaders a letter last week saying that HB2 violates the Civil Rights Act...

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Friday, March 11, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Hillary and Bernie Come to Town, Republicans Play Nice (For Once)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 8:42 AM

So that Republican debate last night was … civil? Weird. Per POLITICO, GOP insiders generally think Marco Rubio had the debate he needed, but it probably came too late to stop Trump.   Marco Rubio delivered a strong debate performance on Thursday night – but it probably won’t save him in Florida next week against Donald Trump. That’s the verdict rendered by The POLITICO Caucus, a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in key states participating in the presidential primary process this month — including Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, which vote on March 15. A majority of Republican insiders...

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interesting morning in Chapel Hill! Four arrested in protest of Margaret Spellings

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Margaret Spellings doesn't even start as UNC system president until March, but calls for her head continue apace.  Why all the Spellings hate?  "Faculty are dissatisfied with the current state at UNC and have no confidence that Spellings will move the system in the right direction,” says Zach Robinson, a faculty member at East Carolina University and a member of the Faculty Forward Network. “Her past actions have shown that she does not have the leadership to lead a world class public system facing a diverse student body, decreased funding and skyrocketing tuition." Spellings' past actions include serving as secretary of...

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Now a living-wage employer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Sometimes, a little peer pressure is a good thing. Just two months ago, protesters gathered outside Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' Chapel Hill offices to protest negligent treatment of of minority students and workers. One thing CHCCS neglected to do was pay some of its workers — such as 72-year-old custodian Eugene Farrar, featured in a November story in The INDY — sufficient wages to live in the towns where they work.  Fortunately for him, and others in his situation, the grassroots Orange County Living Wage Project launched around that time. The organization uses public approval as an incentive, by...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In Chapel Hill, a big night for the challengers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 9:51 PM

A bitterly contested race for the mayor's seat and the Town Council in Chapel Hill, as well as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, came to a bitterly close ending Tuesday night. After a campaign marked by a clamor of anti-incumbent fervor, much of it drummed up with a strong push by the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) political action committee, it was the challengers who won the night in all three elections. Pam Hemminger, a former Orange County commissioner and school board member, defeated incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt in the race for mayor, picking up...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chapel Hill polling shows the challengers taking over

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Chapelboro is reporting a major shift in the polling for this year's hotly-contested races in Chapel Hill. Read the Indy's endorsements for these races here.  Courtesy of Public Policy Polling, a new survey shows challenger Pam Hemminger has taken the lead over incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, with Hemminger leading 43 to 37 percent. Second challenger Gary Kahn has pulled in 2 percent.  In the Town Council contest, while the race remains nail-bitingly close, three of the four front-runners at this point are challengers, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town-endorsed candidates who have been critical of the direction of the...

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Sierra Club endorses the incumbents in Chapel Hill, plus Michael Parker

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Here's a key, late-breaking endorsement from last week in Chapel Hill's oh-so-contested race for the Town Council and the mayor's spot. The Sierra Club of N.C. is siding mostly with the incumbents—Lee Storrow, Donna Bell and Jim Ward—in addition to town Planning Commission member Michael Parker, in the race for four seats on the Town Council. Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt also picked up the group's endorsement in this fall's race against former county commissioner and school board member Pam Hemminger. The Indy's endorsements will be released this Wednesday, one day before one-stop and early voting begins.  According to the...

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn calls Indy profile on him a "great work of fiction."

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:20 PM

I don't normally do this (I know, great way to begin any conversation), but I felt compelled.  On Oct. 3, Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn stated in the N&O that our September profile on the candidate, in which he used the words "ching, ching, ching" to describe the sound of Asians speaking, was a "great work of fiction." Kahn was being questioned about this statement:  “I was walking around one day, and I realized that no one around me was speaking English. They were all Asians. I heard nothing but ‘ching, ching, ching,’ not a word of English.”...

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Campaign spending on the rise in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 1:30 PM

If it feels like this year's municipal election in Chapel Hill has been far more contentious, you're not imagining things.  According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed for town races, this year's crowded roster of hopefuls has already outspent candidates in the 2011 municipal election. Since that year also included a mayoral contest on the ballot with four seats up for grabs on the Town Council, it's a relatively fair comparison.  Total spending reported in that election for the Town Council and mayor was about $31,417. This year's crop, including the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable...

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Report touts the housing benefits of inclusionary zoning

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM

We've written extensively in these pages about the Triangle's affordable housing struggles. Chapel Hill is still waiting for the fruits of its 2008 inclusionary zoning ordinance, a policy that requires new developments to include affordable housing components or make a payment in lieu. Durham doesn't seem quite sure how it will approach this issue. Leaders in Raleigh have been cool to the idea of an inclusionary zoning policy from the start. But a recent report from the Massachusetts-based Lincoln Institute of Land Policy throws the thinktank's support behind Chapel Hill. The report, released Thursday, argues that the zoning policy has...

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Early polling shows Mark Kleinschmidt with a sizable lead in Chapel Hill mayoral race

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM

We're in for a treat. Rarely do you get the chance for some real insight into local municipal races.  Per Chapelboro's Blake Hodge, a recently-commissioned Chapel Hill survey by Public Policy Polling found Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt with a somewhat comfortable spot atop the candidates. Of course, we're still seven weeks out from the election, but Kleinschmidt tweeted some relief.  According to Chapelboro, Kleinschmidt leads all candidates with 37 percent supporting his re-election. Another 25 percent back Pam Hemminger, the candidate endorsed earlier this week by Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, and 5 percent support Gary Kahn. It's much...

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Monday, September 21, 2015

With the election looming, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town shuns incumbents in its endorsements

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 4:06 PM

No big surprises today, as the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, better known as CHALT, announced its formal endorsements in the town's races this fall.  The grassroots group, which has hinged its platform on criticism of the Town Council and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, endorsed a spate of challengers for the November election, shunning incumbents altogether.  The organization chose Pam Hemminger, a former county commissioner and school board member, in the race for mayor. Hemminger is running against Kleinschmidt and challenger Gary Kahn, who the Indy profiled this month, for the mayor's seat. CHALT has focused its outreach on...

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