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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Through a Protest and Hit Someone? No Worries, State House Says.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 7:25 PM

Just when it seemed it was safe to protest in North Carolina, a piece of legislation that would shield people who hit protesters with their cars from civil liability passed its second reading in the state House Wednesday. Go ahead and read that again. We'll give you a moment to wrap your head around it. HB 330 was sponsored by Representatives Justin Burr, R-Montgomery and Stanly, and Chris Mills, R-Onslow and Pender, and moved through the second reading 68–48. A roll call has not yet been made available, but here's a look at this thing, which basically says that if a...

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The Morning Roundup: N.C. Congressman Mark Meadows Is Donald Trump’s Biggest Fanboy

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 8:24 AM

We're halfway home. Let's go. 1) Durham commissioners approve the light rail plan. In what board chairwomman Wendy Jacobs called "the most important vote that I will make as a county commissioner," the Durham County commissioners approved an updated transit plan that includes light rail, commuter rail, and improvements to bus service. From the INDY's Sarah Willets: The commissioners’ approval was one of the final stops for light rail plans before being submitted to the Federal Transit Administration as part of a grant application. GoTriangle, the agency heading up the project, must submit the plans to the FTA by the end...

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Protesters Are Economic Terrorists" Bill Dies in Committee

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 7:15 PM

It was a tough day for Republican state Representatives John Torbett and John Faircloth (of Gaston and Guilford counties, respectively), the guys who wanted to label some North Carolina protesters “economic terrorists” and charge them with felonies. Thankfully, House Bill 249 died today in a 6–5 vote. Here’s what HB 249 would have done, from the INDY's Sarah Willets: A bill introduced in the state House today could label some disruptive protesters as “economic terrorists” and criminalizes blocking streets while participating “in a riot or other unlawful assembly.” […] The bill seems to fall in line with others filed recently by Republican...

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The Downtown Raleigh Alliance Says Downtown Raleigh Is Growing Fast and Growing Right

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 2:02 PM

According to a lengthy report released Tuesday by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, the City of Oaks is growing rapidly and adding amenities indicative of the right kind of expansion. Among the highlights noted in the annual State of Downtown Raleigh report are: • $1.75 billion in recent, ongoing, and upcoming development; • 3,672 new residential units; • $200 million in food and beverage sales last year • An additional one thousand hotel rooms coming to the city's core; • The construction of three hundred acres of additional green space. If you have some time to kill, check out the complete...

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The Morning Roundup: Tensions Escalate on the Korean Peninsula

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:01 AM

We might not have much time. Let's get right into it. 1) North Korea flexes its military muscle. Trump sends nuclear submarine as a "show of force." North Korea paraded around some missiles and held a "large-scale artillery drill" to celebrate its military's anniversary. Not a new thing—but this time, there's a catch. Experts say the country is capable of expanding its nuclear arsenal at an alarming rate. From The New York Times: Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis lies a stark calculus: a growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports...

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Monday, April 24, 2017

HB 13, Bill That Addresses Class Sizes, Moves Forward

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:05 PM

In a response of sorts to concern about possible repercussions of state-mandated K–3 class-size reductions, a Senate committee on Monday night rapidly moved forward a modified bill designed to phase in smaller classes. The bill, an altered version of HB 13, gives systems more flexibility in reducing classroom size and paying specialties teachers in the school year that begins in July. In presenting the bill, Senator Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, said that the General Assembly will create an additional allotment for music, art, and physical ed teachers in the 2018–19 school year, after the state Department of Public Instruction satisfies legislators that money sent to districts is being...

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Consultants Hired to Create New Image for Raleigh Also Behind Hated Rebranding Campaign in Western Massachusetts

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 2:42 PM

A rebranding campaign for three Massachusetts counties—designed by the same Oklahoma consultants hired to create a new core image for Raleigh government—has received such negative reaction that it's been put on hold by its sponsors. Raleigh officials say they’re aware of the controversy surrounding the Massachusetts proposal by Cubic Creative but remain happy with the firm's work, under an $83,000 contract, for Raleigh. "I'm very pleased with the work they've provided us so far and think we are off to a great start," says Damien Graham, the city’s communications director. In February, after its contract with Raleigh had been signed, Cubic...

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The Morning Roundup: A Forgettable 100 Days of Trump

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 10:11 AM

It's a new week. Let's get going. 1) Critics note Trump's rocky start. Trump disagrees. On Saturday, President Donald Trump will mark his hundredth day in office. From CNN: President Donald Trump lives for superlatives — he wants the biggest, the best, the greatest. So it's no surprise he's already fuming about uncomplimentary reviews of his first 100 days in office. Trump is approaching the first symbolic milestone of his presidency on Saturday with a familiar mix of bluster and smokescreens, meant to disguise the reality that he has produced one of the least-prolific first 100 day debuts of any...

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

“We Are Not Afraid of Action”: Thousands March for Science in Downtown Raleigh

Posted By on Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Thousands of people marched in downtown Raleigh on Saturday to support the worldwide March for Science, under the slogan “Science, not Silence.” With over six hundred cities participating worldwide, the march demonstrated widespread support for the scientific process—and for the role science should play in policymaking. The marches also arose partly in protest of President Trump’s proposals to slash funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, including nearly $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, as well his rollbacks of anti-climate-change initiatives. In Raleigh, people gathered at Shaw University’s Estey Hall to begin the march. Before it...

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Morning Roundup: The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Is Back from the Dead, Maybe

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 10:48 AM

Good midmorning. Here is your (belated) roundup. 1. Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. After claims of sexual harassment prompted advertisers to flee, Fox News severed ties with its longtime high-rated cable news host. From The New York Times: Bill O’Reilly’s reign as the top-rated host in cable news came to an abrupt and embarrassing end on Wednesday as Fox News forced him out after the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that turned up even more. Mr. O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The...

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The City of Raleigh Wants to Fix Its “Logo Problem” and Develop a “Narrative Foundation” for Its Brand

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 5:49 PM

Of the images conjured up during a city council work session on how to create a brand for Raleigh, the most memorable came from communications staff member Eric Bannister, a senior graphic designer. Council members were hearing a presentation Tuesday from the Tulsa, Oklahoma, marketing firm Cubic, which had spent weeks in Raleigh interviewing employees and officials as part of an effort to define Raleigh's essence for a new logo and mission statement to arrive in late June. During Cubic's display, Bannister was seen describing an ancient Apple computer, complete with floppy-disc drive. It's possible to get work done on...

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Monday, April 17, 2017

The Morning Roundup: North Korea Is Becoming Trump’s Cuban Missile Crisis

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 8:24 AM

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Let’s kick things off with some cheery news. 1. North Korea is “a Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion.” Despite North Korea’s failed missile test this weekend, the crisis appears to be speeding up. From The New York Times: All the elements of the North Korean nuclear crisis — the relentless drive by Kim Jong-un to assemble an arsenal, the propaganda and deception swirling around his progress, the hints of a covert war by the United States to undermine the effort, rather than be forced into open confrontation — were on vivid display...

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Legislator Compares Honest Abe to Hitler

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 9:06 AM

If that headline doesn't get you going on a Thursday, nothing will. Let's go. 1) NC House Representative Larry Pittman says Lincoln "same kind of tyrant" as Hitler. Go ahead. Read that again. We'll wait. Wednesday, the INDY broke a story about a Republican legislator who outdid Sean Spicer by claiming, via Facebook, that the Civil War was "unconstitutional" and "unnecessary" and that Abraham Lincoln was like Hitler. From the INDY: Needless to say, that Facebook post, and the story about Pittman, has since gone viral. Happy Passover, everyone. 2) Thanks to New York governor, North Carolina is only...

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Big Pork Has Given $272,000 to House Republicans Who Voted in Favor of Hog-Farm-Protection Bill

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 7:41 AM

The INDY has previously reported that state Representative Jimmy Dixon—who has received $115,000 in campaign contributions from the pork industry—is the chief sponsor of a controversial hog-farm-protection bill that passed its second reading in the House Thursday under strange circumstances. And if you’ve been following this story, you know that HB 467 would protect hog farmers from myriad legal claims, including twenty-six active lawsuits filed against Murphy-Brown LLC, the hog division of China-owned Smithfield Foods. But of the sixty-four people who voted in favor of the measure Thursday (the vast majority of whom are Republican), Dixon is far from the only person who has...

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Bannon Off Security Council, Dems Want Body Cams On All N.C. Cops

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 9:10 AM

That was quite a storm. Hope your homes are still intact. Anyway, let's jump in. 1) Bannon reportedly threatens to "quit" after removal from Security Council. Sometimes, as we saw with Pinocchio, the puppet turns his back on the puppeteer. From The New York Times: For the first 10 weeks of President Trump’s administration, no adviser loomed larger in the public imagination than Stephen K. Bannon, the raw and rumpled former chairman of Breitbart News who considers himself a “virulently anti-establishment” revolutionary out to destroy the “administrative state.” But behind the scenes, White House officials said, the ideologist who enjoyed the...

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dems: Make Officers Wear Body Cams, Make Footage Public

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 8:44 PM

Looking to undo the fact that there is, thanks to former Governor Pat McCrory, a relatively new body camera law on the books in N.C. that requires a court order in order for the public to gain access to footage captured by the devices, a group of state legislators filed a bill Wednesday that would reverse course. HB 599 would require law enforcement officers "to wear and activate a body-worn camera during interactions with the public" and would also make those recordings public record. The bill would also provide $10 million in matching grant funds to help pay for the devices....

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wake County Eyes New Schools, Increased Spending Plan

Posted By on Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 8:47 PM

Wake County Public Schools‪ Superintendent Jim Merrill on Tuesday asked county commissioners for a hefty funding hike for the budget year that starts July 1, citing the need to build schools and to support teachers, staff, magnet school programs, and equity efforts. Information on the additional $56 million, as well as this year’s budget, is available at the school system's website and was presented at the Board of Education’s regular meeting Tuesday. The proposed increase, which the system had to develop as state legislators continue to mull their funding of local schools, would bring the county contribution to $466.5 million and represent nearly...

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Monday, April 3, 2017

The Morning Roundup: UNC Plays for Title Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 8:29 AM

It's the beginning of a new week, but this isn't your typical Monday. 1) UNC takes on Gonzaga tonight for the college basketball crown. If you're a Carolina fan, you don't need to be reminded about what happened last year. If you're not—or if you don't care about college basketball—here's a quick recap. UNC was trailing Villanova in the 2016 NCAA tournament championship game until senior guard Marcus Paige hit one of the most clutch shots in the history of Carolina basketball (that's saying a lot). Here's a photo: And yes. It looked just that awkward on live television. No...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Berger: HB 2 Deal Reached. Debate Scheduled for Thursday Morning.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 11:05 PM

After an up and down day (and night) that seemingly saw the death of an HB 2 repeal, state Senate leader Phil Berger tweeted this: The announcement? A deal has been reached. Here is what we’re hearing it looks like: In short, it’s not much of a compromise at all, and it’s not entirely clear that this would satisfy the NCAA. The bathroom provision of HB 2 remains intact. So too does the preemption of local nondiscrimination or wage ordinances, at least until December 2020. It’s basically HB 2 with another name. According to Berger, this should all...

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The Morning Roundup: Raleigh Father of Seven Faces Deportation, the Never-Ending HB 2 Saga Continues

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 8:58 AM

The week is halfway home. Let's dig in. 1) NCAA makes threat re: HB 2. GOP agrees to "deal." Governor says there was no deal. The NCAA threw down the gauntlet Tuesday morning—telling the legislature it had forty-eight hours to kill HB 2 unless it wanted to lose hosting rights to all NCAA championships through 2022. Things got pretty crazy after that. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore held a press conference to announce they agreed, "in principle," with a compromise offered by Governor Cooper. There's just one catch. Cooper denies ever formally offering a deal. Here's...

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Tonight: Vigil for Raleigh Father of Seven Facing Deportation

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 8:27 AM

Community members will host a vigil tonight for Vicente Marcial Noyola, a local father of seven U.S. citizen children who is currently being held at the Wake County Detention Center. Noyola was detained on March 7 after failing to appear in court for driving with a revoked license, according to the advocacy group Alerta Migratoria. Although they say Noyola didn't know he was supposed to go to court, police nabbed him in front of his children before they headed to school that morning, armed with a warrant for his arrest. "We saw all of it, me and my brothers, we...

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Another Bizarre Chapter in the HB 2 Saga

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 8:57 PM

When the NCAA put the legislature on the clock today—demanding a repeal of HB 2 under threat of pulling all sports championships from North Carolina through 2022 should the law not be killed within forty-eight hours—nobody could have guessed (OK, some of you probably did) that the state would find itself in another boondoggle by this evening. But it happened. And it's bizarre. So let's navigate this thing together, shall we? It started with a press conference—Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore agreeing "in principle" to a "deal" they say was proposed by Governor Roy Cooper. Essentially,...

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NCAA Gives North Carolina Forty-Eight Hours to Kill HB 2

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 12:44 PM

You know how we feel about HB 2. If you don't, our editor made clear Monday that the debate over this legislation should be about more than economics and basketball and Springsteen. With that said, there's more HB 2 news breaking, from Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance executive director Scott Dupree: The legislature is on the clock....

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Census Bureau: Raleigh Among Fastest Growing Metros in U.S.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 2:43 PM

Raleigh is growing. Fast. (You’re shocked, right?) That was the message delivered by a new report issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. But before we get into what this actually means, here's a look at the fourteen fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation. As you can see, all but one of the metros that grew faster than Raleigh (Austin) are considerably smaller, which means they had to lure fewer people. And even for Raleigh, the ranking, while noteworthy, doesn't represent an enormous population boom. From 2015–16, only 31,585 people joined the city (and nearly 16,000 of them were...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Durham Cop Won't Face Charges; FBI Director Says Putin Wanted Trump, Hated Clinton

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 8:48 AM

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Yesterday was loaded with headlines, so let's get to it. 1) Durham District Attorney will not prosecute cop who fatally shot Frank Clark. It's been four months since Durham PD Master Officer Charles Barkley shot McDougald Terrace resident Frank Clark and it looks like, for now anyway, the case is closed, as D.A. Roger Echols told the public, via a statement, that he would not pursue criminal charges against the shooter. It's worth noting that the DPD is keeping Barkley on administrative leave until it completes its own investigation into the matter, but here is what Echols...

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