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Friday, April 28, 2017

Morning Roundup: Trump Says Being President Is Harder Than He Expected, Might Need a Nap

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 8:38 AM

It’s Friday, I’m in love. Let’s get going. 1. Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, says “major, major conflict” with North Korea is a possibility. The quote to haunt your dreams: "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely." But, Trump says, we are seeking a diplomatic solution, adding that his administration was preparing a new round of economic sanctions to pressure to North Korean regime to back off its nuclear ambitions. (Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the door to direct talks with Pyongyang, which until, well, yesterday...

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Despite Previous Agreement, Low-Income Forest Hill Apartments Residents Again to Vacate by April 30 or Face Eviction

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 6:28 PM

Residents of a Garner apartment complex are again in the midst of legal and personal turmoil after their Chapel Hill landlord posted notices this week indicating that they must vacate by April 30 or face eviction. It’s a turnaround from an agreement about the departures announced by Wake County officials last month, in which the developer agreed to let the low-income residents stay on until the end of the school year in June. City and county officials, clergy, housing advocates, and others started asking questions in mid-March, when Chapel Hill developer Daniel Eller, head of Eller Capital Properties, first told residents...

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

Passage of HB 13 Would Lower Wake Schools’ Funding Request by $12 Million

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:43 PM

Wake County schools’ request for local dollars in the 2017–18 school year will shrink to $45.4 million from $56.6 million if the General Assembly passes the class-size bill called HB 13. That was the word from Superintendent Jim Merrill to Wake County Board of Education members at a work session Tuesday. The bill, which was amended Monday night to loosen a state mandate to shrink class sizes in the school year that starts in July, passed the Senate Tuesday and will return to the House. Although HB 13 now offers Wake schools a significant breather, many pieces of the budget...

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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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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Morning Roundup: President Trump Brings His Classy Friends to the White House

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 10:11 AM

Welcome to Friday, everyone. Let’s do some headlines. 1. The president brought some classy friends to the White House Wednesday. That would be Kid Rock, Sarah Palin, and Ted Nugent, mocking the official portrait of Hillary Clinton. The New York Times has the tick-tock: “We were there for four hours, man!” Mr. Nugent, a 68-year-old Detroit native, said in a telephone interview on Thursday, using a four-letter expletive to signal his amazement at Mr. Trump’s willingness to spend so much time with his three casually dressed visitors. “He gave us a wonderful personal tour of every room and talked about...

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Days After the NCGA Forced Counties to Pay More for Inmate Hospital Care, the DHHS Dropped Inmates from Medicaid Coverage

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM

A state rule change that made sure Medicaid benefits were cut off for county jail inmates came days after the legislature put responsibility for their hospital care squarely on the backs of county taxpayers. Recent concern about the multimillion-dollar cost of inpatient care for inmates, especially in large counties, put a spotlight on events that took place during 2013, when Medicaid was run by Governor Pat McCrory, Department of Health and Human Services director Aldona Wos, and Medicaid director Carol Steckel. McCrory lost a close gubernatorial race last year, Wos stepped down in 2015, and Steckel left in September 2013...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wake Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill Has No Good Options to Deal with Coming Budget Crunch

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 7:33 AM

Jim Merrill, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, has a list of options in the event of a possible fiscal meltdown next school year, but he's not wild about any of them. Along with the system's 159,000 students, more than 10,000 teachers, and nine school board members, Merrill is looking to the state Senate to pass HB 13, which would give school systems flexibility in meeting state-mandated class-size reductions. The state House has already passed the bill, but it has sat in a Senate committee since February. If the Senate doesn't act, systems such as Wake could lose...

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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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Morning Roundup: In Which POTUS Congratulates a Foreign Leader for Consolidating Power and Undermining Democracy in a Disputed Election

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 8:29 AM

Greetings, and welcome to Tuesday. Let’s get to it: 1. Trump congratulates Turkish President Erdogan on a contested referendum victory. This is problematic for two reasons: 1) Election monitors have spotted numerous irregularities in a very close ballot count. 2) More important, Erdogan was explicitly consolidating his regime’s power at the expense of Turkey’s parliamentary democracy. Here’s how The Washington Post explains it: The juxtaposition of the differing responses [between the White House and the State Department, which urged Turkey to respect the rights of its citizens] underscored the awkward situation faced by many U.S. and European officials in responding...

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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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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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Friday, March 31, 2017

Wake County Register of Deeds Office Under SBI Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 5:59 PM

The State Bureau of Investigation has started a criminal investigation into possible financial irregularities in the Wake County Register of Deeds office, after Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and county manager Jim Hartmann put the agency on notice of problems there. Meanwhile, Register of Deeds Laura Riddick, who’s held the elected office since 1996, announced her retirement effective Saturday. In a Friday afternoon press conference, Freeman and Hartmann said Riddick’s retirement was the result of health problems, not the newly initiated investigation. Freeman cautioned against attaching too much significance to the timing of Riddick’s departure and the investigation. At...

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The Morning Roundup: HB 2 Deal Passes, Michael Flynn Wants Immunity for Russia Testimony

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 10:18 AM

Well, yesterday was interesting. Let's get to it. 1) HB 2 is gone, but the governor is being called a sellout (and not just by us). Who knew that the same people who protested Pat McCrory would be back outside the Executive Mansion to protest a man who won because he said he’d repeal the damn thing? It happened. From the INDY: As the music died down, the crowd began to chant, “Only full repeal of HB 2! Only full repeal of HB 2!” As the chanting subsided, Angela Bridgman grabbed the megaphone and aimed it directly at the Executive...

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Forest Hills Apartments Residents Speak, People in Power Respond.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 3:14 PM

Residents of Forest Hills Apartments in Garner appeared March 20 with little fanfare to tell Wake County commissioners their story: they’d received short notice that they’d have to pay much higher rents and/or move out of the place that had long been home to many of them. By Wednesday night, ten days later, dozens of Forest Hills residents, led by community activist Octavia Rainey, drew a notable crowd to a meeting in a Garner church on the issue. And action at the federal and local level was underway to help residents who had been dismayed by their imminent removal. “To...

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Two Detention Officers Fired After a Man Dies Inside the Wake County Jail

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 3:35 PM

An inmate at Wake County jail died Friday after being found unresponsive in his cell two days earlier, sheriff's officials said. Two employees at the Hammond Road jail have been fired in the wake of the incident, but Sheriff Donnie Harrison says he’s still looking for answers about how the young man died. Eighteen-year-old Jose Humberto Lara-Pineda was taken to the Wake County Detention Center March 21 after being charged with murder in connection with the strangulation death of Fredys Odilo Del Cid Ramos, twenty-eight, Raleigh police officials said. Harrison terminated master detention officers Steven McKoy and Jowanna Mitchell after...

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Breaking: Federally Subsidized Residents of the Forest Hills Apartment Complex in Garner Get More Time Before Facing Eviction

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 5:54 PM

In a startling turnaround, residents of Forest Hills apartments in Garner—who faced skyrocketing rents and eviction—will have until June 15 to find new homes, says Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman Sig Hutchinson. Late Friday afternoon, Hutchinson told the INDY that Wake officials have worked with Chapel Hill developer Daniel Eller to allow residents of the complex to remain until Wake County public schools are out to find new housing. Until then, the residents will continue to pay federally subsidized rates at the complex some have called home for thirty-five years. In addition, Wake officials will work with Forest Hills residents...

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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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Wake County Schools Grapple With the Aftermath of Racial Incidents

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 12:49 PM

Racially charged incidents in Wake County Public Schools carry the potential explosiveness of a bomb, and the system must be better prepared to deal with them, Board of Education members said at their Tuesday work session. As the system moves forward with training and structural changes, staff and administrators should realize that recent developments illustrate a deeper, more troubling level of racial division, said chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler. Like the parents who called in tears after seeing the racist video made by students at Leesville Road Middle, Johnson-Hostler said she was shocked by the nature of the animus seen in recent months....

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wake Commissioner: Help Is On the Way for Residents of Subsidized Apartment Complex in Garner Who Will Soon See Their Rents Hiked

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 4:01 PM

Wake County officials have begun efforts to help residents of a Garner subsidized apartment complex who face drastically increased rents and possible eviction. Commissioners first got word of the situation Monday when activist Octavia Rainey led a group of more than two dozen residents of Forest Hills Apartments to voice complaints at a Board of Commissioners meeting. ECP LLC, a Chapel Hill company, has sent letters to residents to let them know that they must either start paying market-rate rent on April 1—as much as five times the subsidized cost—or move out of the apartments. County commissioner Greg Ford said...

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The Morning Roundup: Charles Murray Talks About White People Problems at Duke; Trump Threatens N.C. Republican

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:05 AM

Good morning, one and all. Away. We. Go. 1) Charles Murray avoids calling blacks inferior during his lecture at Duke University Tuesday. Amazing when the headline is about somebody not making the horrific comments he's become kind of known for. But his lack of blatant racism begs the question: Is our buddy Charles, a man labeled a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, evolving? We doubt it. But anyway, INDY reporter Sarah Willets burned some of her remaining hours on Earth last night having to listen to this guy do his thing. Click here to read all about it. Oh,...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Garner Residents in Subsidized Housing Face Increased Rent, Eviction

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 6:24 PM

Veteran east Raleigh activist Octavia Rainey quickly got the word when residents of a Garner apartment complex learned that their subsidized rents would quintuple to market rates by April 1—which meant, in short, that they were facing eviction. On Monday, she headed a delegation of more than two dozen residents of Forest Hills Apartments during Wake County commissioners' public comment period. Rainey and dozens of people who live in the Garner complex said they recently received letters from owners EPC LLC, of Chapel Hill, telling them they would have to pay market rent on April 1, and that they could be evicted if...

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man, that is so cold and heartless. it is very hard to find an affordable apartment much less find the …

by swabby on Despite Previous Agreement, Low-Income Forest Hill Apartments Residents Again to Vacate by April 30 or Face Eviction (News)

And THIS is why we have the government we do. Money, plain and simple, buys votes. If you give enough …

by Brannon White on Beer and Wine Wholesalers Gave $53K to ABC Committee Members Last Year, Beat Back a Proposal to Raise Breweries’ Self-Distribution Cap (News)

"Even at 3.3 Billiion it's still worth it. The USA desperately needs to transition to public transportation."

A new …

by Mark Bahner on The Durham-Orange Light Rail Now Costs More Than $3 Billion, and Durham Will Have to Pay More of It (News)

Even at 3.3 Billiion it's still worth it. The USA desperately needs to transition to public transportation. Public transportation and …

by jokr8790 on The Durham-Orange Light Rail Now Costs More Than $3 Billion, and Durham Will Have to Pay More of It (News)

If the allegations are true, particularly the ones about the embezzlement of withholding taxes, an independent audit by the IRS …

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Comments

man, that is so cold and heartless. it is very hard to find an affordable apartment much less find the …

by swabby on Despite Previous Agreement, Low-Income Forest Hill Apartments Residents Again to Vacate by April 30 or Face Eviction (News)

And THIS is why we have the government we do. Money, plain and simple, buys votes. If you give enough …

by Brannon White on Beer and Wine Wholesalers Gave $53K to ABC Committee Members Last Year, Beat Back a Proposal to Raise Breweries’ Self-Distribution Cap (News)

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