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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Former Durham officer accused of dealing crack

Posted by on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 7:38 PM

A former Durham police officer and former UNC football standout has been indicted on federal drug charges, the Durham Police Department announced late Thursday.

Sherrod Peace, 35, is accused of dealing five grams of crack cocaine, and possessing a gun at the time of drug trafficking, according to the Durham police statement. According to the federal indictment, posted online by the ABC11 news channel, the gun was a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson. This is the same make and model carried by Durham police, according to an earlier public records (see graphic) request by the Indy.

Peace worked in the city's District One, composed largely of eastern Durham neighborhoods, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael wrote in an e-mail. He was with the force from 2003 to Dec. 31, 2009. City personnel records show Peace made about $50,000 a year with the department after a raise in August.

According to the statement,  Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. received a complaint in early October 2009 that Peace was involved in illegal activities and started a criminal investigation with the help of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Durham police also conducted an internal investigation.

It is unclear from the statement how Peace was charged or whether he is accused of dealing drugs while on duty.

"We take any allegation of misconduct by our employees very seriously and thoroughly investigate all complaints," Lopez said in the prepared statement. "Law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect the community and we must be held to a high standard."

Peace was a football star at Northern High School in Durham and while he played at UNC, his cousin Jason Peace was also on the team. Peace also has a fraternal twin brother, Sherron Peace, who played football at Howard University, according to a UNC feature story from 1999.

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Feds launch environmental crimes task force in N.C.

Posted by on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Polluters, take note: A new environmental crimes task force is launching in North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.

The press release (92kb, pdf) environmentalcrimesgroup sounds serious, but forgive Triangulator if she doesn't start drinking straight from the Neuse River quite yet. Federal and state regulators are known for their light hand on all but the most egregious of polluters. And sometimes the fines and penalties take years to assess and collect because the polluters declare bankruptcy, tie up the case in the courts, etc.

But with that said, it will be worth tracking the effectiveness of this new initiative.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chapel Hill's Ping Fu among Obama guests at State of the Union speech

Posted by on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Ping Fu, Chapel Hill resident and co-founder of Geomagic, a technology company based in Research Triangle Park, will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at tonight’s State of the Union speech.

You can read the 23-member list here: [76kb, Word doc]  firstladyguestlist

While Geomagic is a highly successful company—from 2000 to 2005, its annual revenue grew to $30 million— Fu’s personal story is even more remarkable. According to Inc. magazine, which named her 2005’s Entrepreneur of the Year,

“Ping attended no school at all between the ages of 7 and 18. Instead of San Francisco, Berkeley, and the Ivy League, she was educated through torture, exile, and imprisonment in her native China during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.”

According to NPR, which broadcast a profile of her in 2006, Fu, once a journalist, spent two years investigating rumors that China's one-child policy was prompting couples to kill their baby girls. Fu's student project got picked up by the People's Daily. Embarrassed, party officials sentenced Fu to prison.

"I was preparing to die," NPR quoted Fu as saying of that time, "and then I was given a chance to live."

Read more about the company and Fu below.

Continue reading…

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

N.C. set to treat four Haitian earthquake victims

Posted by on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Four victims of the Haitian earthquake are scheduled to arrive in the Triangle this morning to receive medical attention, according to a press release sent by the N.C. Division of Emergency Management.

The four, one of whom is accompanied by an uninjured child, are being transfered to North Carolina to receive treatment for burns as Florida hospitals cannot handle the massive overflow of Haitians in need of help.

Three will be sent to the UNC Hospitals's Jaycee Burn Center. The other will be treated at the Wake Forest Baptist Burn Center. The patients, three men aged 24, 29 and 61 and a 54-year-old woman, were set to land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport this morning.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Hustler founder Flynt to speak at UNC

Posted by on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Clarification (10:12 p.m. Friday): As UNC School of Law student Jonathan Jones commented below, Larry Flynt's speech is free and open to the public, but a ticket is required. The Great Hall of the UNC Student Union only holds 500 people, so you'll need a free ticket to reserve a space. The prices noted below apply to the second day of the symposium, which includes three panel discussions and runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. February 19.

Larry Flynt will come to UNC next month to deliver a speech on sexually explicit language and material.

The controversial pornography maven and founder of Hustler is the keynote speaker for the UNC's First Amendment Law Review Symposium, the eighth annual event put on by the student organization and journal.

"When you talk about the First Amendment, and you talk about controversy, one person comes to mind, and it's Larry Flynt," said Symposium Editor David Wicclair, a third-year law student from Pittsburgh.

Flynt will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Great Hall of the UNC Student Union. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $10 for senior citizens and students from other institutions. UNC students, faculty and staff can get in for free. They go on sale Feb. 1 at the Student Union Box Office.

Continue reading…

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Air America goes silent; WCHL-1360 to find new programming

Posted by on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 5:39 PM

That's actually a mooring mast with the zeppelin, not a radio tower. (Wiki Commons)
  • That's actually a mooring mast with the zeppelin, not a radio tower. (Wiki Commons)

What a week for liberals: The Democrats lose Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat, the Supreme Court invites corporations to bring their cash through the front door of the electoral process, lawmakers on Capitol Hill seem ready to fold on health care reform and one-time local populist darling John Edwards admits to fathering his mistress' child and then disappears to Haiti. Oh, and the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils both lost last night.

And just an hour ago, word came that Air America, the well-intentioned, six-year effort to provide a forum for lefty politics on AM radio, has foundered.

Citing the contemporary economic climate and, more specifically, a 21 percent decline in radio ad revenue over the past year, Charlie Kireker, chair of Air America Media, informed his staff today that the network would cease its "as of this afternoon," and would soon file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy "to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business."

Locally, Air America provided overnight and some Saturday programming for WCHL-1360. The mainstay hosts of the weekdays, including Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann, are not syndicated by Air America.

WCHL station manager Christy Dixon told Triangulator that "We just received this news ourselves. We're beginning to look for replacement shows." She said that the new shows would continue in the station's format of progressive talk and local programming.

Air America provided a forum for lefty celebrities like Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Earle and Ron Reagan to take to the airwaves. It also created a couple of stars, most notably Rachel Maddow, who began with the network in 2004, co-hosting a show called Unfiltered with Chuck D and Lizz Winstead. Even after moving to her television career with MSNBC, Maddow continued to broadcast on Air America.

After the jump, the memo from Kireker.

Continue reading…

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Chatham school board to appoint new member after Gerald Totten's death

Posted by on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM

The Chatham County as the Board of Education could appoint a replacement as early as Monday for former District 4 school board member Col. Gerald Totten, who died unexpectedly Dec. 2, 2009.

A hearing will be held Monday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at which the school board will consider the five applications they have received thus far. Applications must be received at the Central Office, 360 West St., by Friday, Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. Applications may also be e-mailed to Sheila Talley,

Five people have applied for the post:

  • Jonathan E. Hart, who works in I.T. at the N.C. State Employee Credit Union in Raleigh;
  • Carlos Simpson, who did not include a resume;
  • Gary L. Leonard a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Chatham Charter School;
  • Mary B. Harris who is retired after 34 years of teaching in Chatham County schools;
  • Trudy Paschal Walters, also a retired school teacher with more than 30 years in the school system.

Update: Just before the Friday deadline, Stephen Douglas Burke, an accountant with the N.C. Department of Transportation, filed his application.

The school board will hold a special hearing Monday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at which the school board will consider the six applications, and make their final decision.

Chatham County has four school board districts with five seats. Deb McManus, board chair is the other District 4 representative, which includes Siler City. The new board member will be sworn in Feb. 15.

Read their applications.

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NCSSM vies for Guinness record with massive food drive

Posted by on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Students at the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics are hoping to break a world record on March 20 by gathering the most donations during a charitable food drive that lasts just 24 hours.

To break the record, donations must top 509,147 pounds of food. (Yes, that's more than half a million pounds.) The food from the collection will be donated to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

To put that figure in perspective, that amount of food would last the food bank about a week, said Allen Reep, vice president of development for the food bank. But it's going to take a lot of participants. Every year, the N.C. State Fair gathers canned food at its gates in lieu of a ticket fee, and that collection usually brings in about 250,000 pounds of food—less than half what NCSSM hopes to gather, Reep said.

Continue reading…

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The untimely death of former Hillside principal Earl Pappy

Posted by on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Earl Pappy, former principal of Hillside High School, died Sunday, according to the brief obituary that ran in The News & Observer and a story yesterday in The Herald-Sun. He was only 51.

I, among others, was surprised to hear that Pappy died so young. Although the end of his three-year tenure was marked by controversy, the beginning was full of high hopes. Here, I'd like to share a 2007 profile (PDF) I wrote for The News & Observer about Pappy. In the month or so I spent shadowing him for the story, I was impressed by his polished affect and the taxing tasks he was taking on, between trying to reform a school and attending executive leadership courses to become a better principal.

Though some question the effect he had on student behavior and academic development at Hillside, there's no question that the man tried tirelessly to bring about change.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Daniels pleads guilty to carrying gun, receives unsupervised probation

Posted by on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Erick Daniels, who was released from prison in 2008 after serving seven years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, was sentenced to 12 months unsupervised probation today in a Durham County courtroom for carrying a concealed weapon, according to court records.

After being out of prison more than a year, Daniels was arrested Dec. 4 and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and drug possession. On Tuesday, Daniels pleaded guilty to carrying the gun, which was not registered with the county. A judge dismissed the drug possession charge, court records show. Police said he was carrying three pills of the painkiller percocet. Daniels said he had a prescription for the medication.

Daniels faces $225 in fines and court costs, plus attorney fees.

Read more about Erick Daniels' wrongful imprisonment >>

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