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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Inspection Finds Few Violations At The Durham County Jail

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 4:53 PM

The recent death of a 29-year-old inmate has drawn fresh attention to what's going on inside the Durham County Detention Facility. Critics and protesters have demanded a community-led investigation of the jail, citing letters from inmates who describe unsafe and unsanitary conditions.  It remains to be seen whether that will come to pass. Today, though, the Durham County Sheriff's Office announced that the Durham County Department of Public Health conducted its annual inspection of the jail last week, on February 5. Its verdict? Things at the jail are pretty much normal.  The inspection was precipitated by a citizen complaint made on...

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Talking with Elisa Benitez, community organizer for Alerta Migratoria NC, about last week’s ICE raid in Durham

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Before leaving for school at Durham’s Riverside High School last Thursday morning, 19-year-old Wildin David Guillen Acosta went to warm up the car. He returned inside to grab his bookbag. When he came back out, plainclothes Immigrations Customs Enforcement agents were waiting for him. He was thrown to the ground, arrested, and hauled away. He’s currently being held at Stewart Detention Center, in Lumpkin, Georgia, awaiting deportation. Wildin arrived in the United States in June 2014. He was a minor at the time, seeking to escape gang violence in his home of Honduras. Arrested at the border, he was delivered...

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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Ted Cruz hates Trump, Tim Moore hates teachers, the economy hates us all

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Happy Friday! So who won last night’s Republican debate? The guy who didn’t show? Or maybe one of the losers on the undercard? Or maybe moderator Megyn Kelly, who really rode this “Donald is afraid of me” thing for all it was worth? Or was it, you know, Hillary Clinton, who looks better and better the longer the Republicans’ once-vaunted “deep bench” is out on display.  Or did Trump’s absence merely show that, minus his pomposity and bellicosity, this collection of vacuous “thinkers” and wannabe populists is not only terrifying, but also boring?  Hmmm. Here’s some video of Ted Cruz...

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Durham County Department of Public Health will investigate death of 29-year-old inmate

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Last Tuesday, Matthew LaMont McCain, a 29-year-old inmate in the Durham County Detention Facility, died in his cell. The Durham County Sheriff's Office reported that a member of the detention staff found McCain "unresponsive and immediately performed life-saving measures. The detention staff and medical personnel performed CPR until EMS arrived. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Mr. McCain and he was pronounced dead at the detention facility." The Durham advocacy group Inside-Outside Alliance, a vocal critic of the jail's policies, has suggested on its site that McCain's death was the result of medical neglect. The group is in frequent communication with inmates.  Today, the Durham County...

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Man tasered by Durham police at Harris Teeter no longer faces trespassing charges

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 1:13 PM

Trespassing charges were dropped Wednesday against 24-year-old Deonte Holder, who was tasered by Durham police on Sept. 9 after he refused to leave the Ninth Street Harris Teeter for unspecified reasons. According to Bull City Rising, the charges were dismissed after witnesses—employees at the Harris Teeter—failed to show up in court. The arrest story went viral after Durham resident Adrienne Harreveld posted cell phone video of Holder (mistakenly identified as "Deonte Harris" in the BCR blog post, as well as in this TWC News story from September) prone on the floor of the supermarket as cops hovered over him. Holder...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A little off the top: Durham’s “Canopener Bridge” makes the front page of The Wall Street Journal

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Schadenfreude is, perhaps, too strong a word to describe that feeling we get when we hear that yet another hapless person behind the steering wheel of a tall truck fell prey to that confounded bridge. After all, we bear no actual malice toward these folks who fail to heed flashing low-bridge warnings about the 11-foot-8 railroad overpass on Durham's Gregson Street, near Brightleaf Square. But we can't help but shake our heads and laugh (while being grateful that no one was gravely hurt) every time a truck top gets violently soda-canned or sheared there. And it happens a lot.  As...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Durham beginning search for the next police chief

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:59 AM

The search for Durham's newest police chief will soon be underway. The city announced Tuesday that it has selected a Durham firm, Development Associates LLC, to lead the search process for outgoing Chief Jose Lopez's replacement. By the city's timetable, national and regional recruitment will stretch into January, with the first candidate recommendations coming late in the month.  Interviews will be held in March and City Manager Tom Bonfield says he hopes to offer the job by early April. The new chief, presumably, would start in May.  Meanwhile, Lopez, whose office has been dogged by charges of racial profiling,...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Durham Police Department hands out tickets for "good" behavior

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:28 PM

After a really dismal couple of years, brimming with allegations of racial profiling, controversial shootings and a police chief being forced out, it seems the Durham Police Department is looking to put out a few good vibes for the moment.  Per Durham Magazine, we learned that city police officers were handing out tickets for "good" behavior on Thursday, in an operation at the pedestrian crosswalk at Geer and Foster streets.  If you were spotted using the crosswalk properly, officers would hand out a coupon for a free cup of coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon.  Kammie Michael, spokeswoman for the Durham Police...

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Report touts benefits for workers and the economy in raising wages for public employees

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 12:54 PM

When Orange County builder Mark Marcoplos told me earlier this month that it's time for a living wage debate, he was on to something.  Orange County's Living Wage Campaign hit the ground running this month, enlisting more than 30 local businesses to agree upfront to pay their employees a "living wage," or about $12.75 per hour in Orange County. Earlier this year, Durham launched its own campaign, guaranteeing workers hourly pay of at least $12.53. And this week, Wake County commissioners agreed to raise the minimum wage for all county workers to a solid $13.50 an hour.  Fittingly, on...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Less than a year in, the Durham Co-op Market stirs up controversy

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM

It didn't take long for the Durham Co-op Market to find itself some controversy.  About seven months after opening, members of the market's board of directors will consider a vote Sunday to nix the worker-owner shares currently allowed in the co-op's bylaws. Modeled after Orange County's Weaver Street Market, the bylaws grant workers the ability to purchase a separate class of worker shares in the business, which would allow employees who buy in to leverage about 10 percent ownership of the business. The model also guarantees worker representation on the board. The proposed revision would allow workers to purchase...

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has imposed sanctions on Family Legacy Mental Health

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Today, we’ve published an in-depth look at a Durham and Raleigh mental health provider, Family Legacy Mental Health Services, that received almost $3 million in Medicaid money over the last two years. Yet, many of its past and present employees say they haven’t been paid regularly since March. A key question here is how this clinic remains a public mental health provider, despite the fact that the organization that oversees public mental health services in Durham and Wake counties, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, is aware of these allegations. We received an update from Alliance past deadline yesterday, indicating now that they...

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Durham Chamber of Commerce lauds SCOTUS gay marriage decision

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Creative Commons LicenseBack in 2012, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce was the first North Carolina business group to declare its opposition to Amendment One, a short-lived, voter-approved ban on gay marriage. Fittingly in 2015, the group is celebrating the Supreme Court's epic decision last week to order that gay marriage be permitted across the country. On Tuesday, Chamber Chairman Bill Brian described discriminatory policies such as Amendment One as "obstructions to talent attraction." The chairman's statement echoed those of major business leaders such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Coca-Cola, all of which officially stated their support for marriage equality...

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Walker, Price and Butterfield winning in Congressional races

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Early results in Congress races showed mixed results for both parties Tuesday night. As expected, longtime U.S. Rep. David Price was on course to easily best his opponent Tuesday, picking up 75 percent of the vote in heavily left-leaning U.S. House District 4 with most precincts reporting. His underdog opponent, Republican Paul Wright, had mustered just 24 percent of the vote. Incumbent Democrat G.K. Butterfield, a voting rights attorney from Wilson, appeared bound for victory against his GOP challenger, Sampson County accountant Arthur Rich, in the race for U.S. House District 1. With more than half of precincts reporting, Butterfield...

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Insko, Foushee and Meyer in state races in Orange County

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM

This is an easy call early on. Democrats may be bound for hard times in Tuesday's midterm, but in Orange County, the bubble remains. There were no close races between N.C. Senate District 23 and N.C. House 56, where Democratic incumbents Valerie Foushee and Verla Insko hold apparently insurmountable leads in their bid for re-election. Foushee and Insko will beat Republican challengers Mary Lopez-Carter and Dave Carter, respectively. In N.C. House 50, which includes portions of Orange and Durham counties, Democrat Graig Meyer also appears bound for victory, earning a 28-percentage point lead at press time over Republican Rod Chaney....

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On Election Day, North Carolina precincts overwhelmed

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Polls are closing now, and the word is turnout. All over the state, there are reports of presidential election-type turnout, perhaps a reflection of just how bitter this year's midterm campaign has been in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Mark Dorosin, managing attorney for the UNC Center for Civil Rights, says the nonpartisan center's Election Day hotline has been besieged with higher than normal call volume for a midterm. Dorosin compared the calls to a presidential election year, noting many seem spurred by this year's election law changes, even though voter ID provisions do not take effect until 2016. "A lot of...

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DOJ to would-be Meadowmont and Durham frackers: Cease and desist

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:25 PM

It would appear the Pennsylvania company behind a number of bizarre mineral rights leasing offers in Durham and Chapel Hill has gotten on N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper's bad side. In a sharply worded letter mailed Monday, Cooper's office ordered Crimson Holdings Corporation—and its affiliated real estate firm Campbell Development LLC—to stop offering oil and gas leases in North Carolina. DOJ also demanded the prospective drillers, who sought to buy the mineral rights for nature preserves in Durham and the park at Meadowmont in Chapel Hill, reject and return any accepted lease offers from landowners. "Until you can demonstrate that...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fracking company makes offers in Durham

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Almost two months after fracking was legalized in North Carolina, a Pennsylvania company is offering to buy mineral rights from landowners in Durham. And since the company’s agent has not registered with state officials, he could be breaking the law. Leaders of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, a conservationist nonprofit in Durham, say they recently have received offers from Crimson Holdings Corporation, a company based in Pittsburgh, seeking to buy mineral rights on multiple tracts. The association owns 340 acres and four public nature preserves in Durham. Crimson Holdings has also approached at least one other landowner near Falls Lake...

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Plan calls for faster mental health service in Durham, Wake

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Access to care and crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers top the business plan for Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, the state-funded agency charged with disbursing public mental health dollars in Wake and Durham counties. Durham County Commissioners Michael PageBoth were among the top local initiatives for the agency’s 2014-2016 plan as presented to Durham and Wake county commissioners Monday. Read a copy of the plan on the Durham commissioners' website here. The plan, which identifies service gaps and lays out strategies for addressing those gaps, requires review by county officials before Alliance can submit it to the N.C. Department of...

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Bo Lozoff killed in motorcycle crash in Hawai'i

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 8:16 PM

(Update, 9:03 p.m.: The Indy independently confirmed Lozoff's death through a musician and friend of his in Hawaii.) Bo Lozoff, who ran Kindness House, an intentional community near Durham for ex-offenders and spiritual seekers, was killed yesterday in a motorcycle crash in Hawai'i, where he lived, according to news reports. Lozoff, 65, died after his 2003 Suzuki motorcycle was struck by a 1999 Lexus SUV whose driver failed to yield the right of way and pulled in front of him. Neither the driver of the car nor the passenger were seriously hurt. News reports quoted police as saying Lozoff was...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is Aqua North Carolina in bed with 751 developers?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

The private water company Aqua North Carolina has asked to buy water from Chatham County that could be used for the 751 South project. Chatham County Commissioners voted 4-1 to direct staff to draft a contract that would allow Aqua North Carolina to buy 850,000 gallons per day from the county. Sally Kost was the lone no vote at the Nov. 19 meeting—the Monday before Thanksgiving. Kost told the Indy tonight that she specifically asked an Aqua representative if the the water allocation had anything to do with 751. Kost said the Aqua representative responded, "We've talked with them," adding...

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Lincoln Apartments residents petition Durham County Commissioners over evictions

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 8:30 PM

This is the story of Lincoln Apartments as Southern Real Estate Management & Consultants tells it: The majority of the 50-plus households at the low-income housing community don't pay rent, or if they do, it's late. And without rent collections, the real estate company can't pay its bills and must evict all the residents, effective Oct. 31. But residents of Lincoln Apartments told Durham County Commissioners a much different version of events Monday night. And the residents' comments raise questions about the company's financial practices and overall management of the property. "We are not here to hand over our...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

State elections board clears Durham Partnership for Progress

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The N.C. Board of Elections has ruled that the mailers produced by the Durham Partnership for Progress were not coordinated with any candidates supported by the local SuperPAC. As the Indy reported last week, several complaints had been filed with the Durham Board of Elections, which forwarded them to the state level, alleging that the Partnership was working in concert with Durham commissioner candidates Michael Page, Brenda Howerton, Joe Bowser and Rickey Padgett. The Partnership has received more than $54,000 from Southern Durham Development, which is supporting the four candidates because of their stance on the 751 South project. The...

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Woodard: Election paperwork was sent, but not received

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Mike WoodardDurham City Councilman Mike Woodard, a candidate for N.C. Senate District 22, responded today to claims from competitor Kerry Sutton that he has not filed appropriate forms with the N.C. Ethics Commission and State Board of Elections. Woodard says he learned Friday that the stack of forms he says he sent Feb. 22, within the required 10-day period, had not been received by those offices. "I mailed them. They didn't receive them. It's my responsibility to get them in, and I'm going to take care of that today," Woodard said. The commission needs a Statement of Economic Interest and...

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Southern Durham Development gives $50K to developer's Super PAC

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Southern Durham Development, which is behind the proposed 751 South development, has contributed more than $50,000 to The Durham Partnership for Progress, a Super PAC. Here is the campaign finance filing, due today: Partnership_for_Progress_30April2012.pdf As the Indy reported last week, DPP has ties to Southern Durham Development through Tyler Morris. He is a majority shareholder in Southern Durham Development and assistant treasurer of Durham Partnership for Progress. DPP is behind a mailer supporting Durham County Commission candidates Joe Bowser, Brenda Howerton, Rickey Padgett and Michael Page. Bowser, Howerton and Page all voted to approve the controversial rezoning of 751 South,...

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Durham's first Super PAC has ties to Southern Durham Development

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM

If you’re a Durham County resident, you may have received campaign mailers supporting the slate of Michael Page, Brenda Howerton, Joe Bowser and Rickey Padgett for county commissioner. Here's the mailer: mailer_no_address.pdf That mailer was paid for by the innocuously named Durham Partnership for Progress. But innocuous it is not: DPP is actually an independent expenditure political committee—commonly known as a Super PAC—organized by developer Tyler Morris, a majority shareholder in Southern Durham Development. And not coincidentally, DPP is bankrolled, so far, by Southern Durham Development, which plans to build the controversial 751 South project in the sensitive Jordan Lake...

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