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Friday, December 2, 2011

Dr. Steve Auerbach of Physicians for a National Health Program to speak in Triangle

Posted by on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Steve Auerbach, the pediatrician with Occupy Wall Street and leader of Physicians for a National Health Program has scheduled two appearances in the Triangle:

Today at 4 p.m., Dr. Auerbach will speak at 207 Alumni Hall on the UNC campus, followed by a teach-in at 5 p.m. at Peace and Justice Plaza.

On Saturday at 10 a.m. he will speak in Durham at the Snow Building, 331 W. Main St., in the basement conference room.

According to a press release, both his presentations will focus on "how extreme economic and social inequalities, combined with the greed of private health insurance companies, are harming the nation's health and economy. He will also speak about how a single-payer health system ­ an improved Medicare for all ­ is a key remedy."

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    Dr. Steve Auerbach will speak in Chapel Hill and Durham about a single-payer health system.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rowand art gallery vandalized; personal art collection to be auctioned

Posted by on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Update: The Joe Rowand Art Gallery was vandalized Saturday, Nov. 26, according to a Chapel Hill police report. Two large flower pots were broken, the business' banner sign was torn and the building was spray painted. Damage is valued at $1,100. No arrests have been made. The report is here. policereport.pdf
The Indy redacted some personal information for privacy reasons.

After declaring personal bankruptcy last year, Joe Rowand, former president of the now-defunct Somerhill Gallery, is auctioning 164 pieces from his own art collection Dec. 2–3 at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales in Hillsborough.

Rowand filed for individual bankruptcy around the time Somerhill declared Chapter 7. The gallery owed artists hundreds of thousands of dollars for their work; this included some pieces that had been sold several years ago but for which the artists were not paid a commission. Meanwhile, according to court records, Rowand was drawing a $15,000 monthly salary from the gallery.

Ironically, Rowand’s personal cache, available online at, contains works by two artists listed as creditors in the Somerhill bankruptcy: Ginny Stanford of California, whom Somerhill owed $13,000, and John Beerman of Hillsborough, $40,000. These assets are not part of the gallery, and thus separate from any corporate legal proceedings.

Now legally absolved of his Somerhill debt through bankruptcy, (although since he didn’t pay the artists, one could question whether he has met the ethical obligation), Rowand has a new gallery on Legion Road in Chapel Hill.

Continue reading…

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    Joe Rowand Art Gallery vandalized

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chapel Hill weighs Northside, Pine Knolls plan

Posted by on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Chapel Hill rolled out a proposed Community Plan for Northside and Pine Knolls on Monday that leaders hope will help combat a student-rental takeover that is pricing out the town’s black and working class residents.

The plan comes during a six-month moratorium on development in those neighborhoods meant to buy time to craft a plan to keep housing affordable and better relations between students and long-term, single-family residents.

“I feel like I’m fighting for my life, and I shouldn’t have to feel like that, but the reason I feel like that is because investors came into my community with greed,” Keith Edwards, a long-term Northside resident, said during the public hearing.

“They came in and just ran over us like a bulldozer taking away our way of life.”

Born out of meetings with stakeholders and drafted by town planners and the Sustaining OurSelves coalition, the plan focuses on affordable housing, cultural and historic preservation, enforcement, education and outreach, parking and zoning.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Chapel Hill protesters to demonstrate at police station, Town Council meeting Monday

Posted by on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM

"Protest Police State Chapel Hill" flyer
  • "Protest Police State Chapel Hill" flyer

A group of Occupy Chapel Hill members plans to gather at the police station at 6 p.m. Monday and march to Town Hall and the Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. in opposition to last Sunday's raid at the Chrysler Building.

Mike Connor, who was handing out flyers that read "Protest Police State Chapel Hill" on Sunday, says he expects 200 supporters to participate.

"Some people are going to go in and lecture (the town) on civility," he said. "Other people are going to stand outside, have an open mic and have our own Town Council meeting."

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Monday, November 14, 2011

State considers five new Triangle charter schools

Posted by on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM

  • Matty Symons/

State education officials are reviewing 27 applications for new charter schools across the state, including two in Durham County, two in Wake County and one in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district.

A new state law passed this year raised the limit on charter schools in North Carolina, which previously had been capped at 100. The applications were due last Thursday, and will be reviewed by the N.C. Public Charter School Advisory Council (CSAC) before being submitted to the State Board of Education.

The applicants are aiming to have their schools up and running in August 2012. This first group of applicants is a special, "fast-tracked," pool because they have a previous relationship or record with the state, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction website. For instance, several of the applicants had been interviewed by the state before, but were not granted a charter because of the previous statewide cap.

The state will hold a separate, regular application process later this fall for other charter schools. Those applications will be due in April 2012. (More information on the application process)

The applicants in Triangle school districts are:

Chapel Hill-Carrboro
The Howard & Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School, Angela Lee

Durham County
Research Triangle High School, Pamela Blizzard
Quality Education Academy of Durham, Alethea Bell

Wake County
Widsom Academy, Craig James
Triangle Math and Science Academy, Kenan Gundogdu

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    Twenty-seven applicants across the state want to open by August 2012.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

After Somerhill bankruptcy, Joe Rowand opens new art gallery

Posted by on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 11:36 AM

He’s back.

Joe Rowand, who owes artists thousands of dollars after declaring bankruptcy last year, is opening his new gallery, tomorrow in Chapel Hill.

Over the past several years, Roward pulled down a $15,000 monthly salary while his previous enterprise, Somerhill Gallery, owed artists at least $270,000 in commissions on works that had been sold but for which they were never paid.

And in some cases, the artists said, they were told by the gallery that their pieces had not sold when in fact, they had.

Last year Somerhill declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed; its debts included $200,000 in back rent and another $200,000 to the estate of the late philanthropist Rolf Rosenthal.

Most of the Somerhill artists are still waiting to be paid. An auction held in September 2010 generated $91,560 according to court documents, but the proceeds went first to major creditors, including banks and Scientific Properties, the gallery’s landlord.

But what Rowand is doing—starting a new business—is legal, according to Sara Conti, an attorney who had sought damages on behalf of the artists. As long as Rowand doesn’t use the Somerhill name or sell works that were protected in the bankruptcy filing, he can launch a new gallery.

The Indy called Rowand today and asked if any proceeds from the new business could go toward paying debts to Somerhill artists. He said it he was on a ladder installing light bulbs. Asked if he could speak later by phone, he said he did not want to comment.

The Joe Rowand Art Gallery hosts its grand opening tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located at 1713 Legion Road, down the street from Crooks Atrium Café.

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    Still in debt to artists, Joe Rowand opens new gallery

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bower bows out of CHCCS race

Posted by on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Brian Bower, who said his top priority if elected to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board would be “to pick my jaw from off the floor,” removed that possibility Wednesday night by dropping out of the race.

Bower, a UNC graduate student who was running primarily to establish in-state residency and earn lower tuition costs, is withdrawing from the race both because of the “remote possibility that my candidacy might jeopardize the re-election of Ms. (Jamezetta) Bedford,” he wrote in a statement, and because UNC recently approved his application to be an in-state student.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chapel Hill food truckin’, What a long strange trip it’s been

Posted by on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Chapel Hill inched closer to allowing food trucks within town limits Monday night at a Town Council public hearing.

Council members received a proposed ordinance, already approved unanimously by the town Planning Board, which would:
-allow food trucks to be located downtown in private lots, at least 100 feet away from a restaurant entrance, as long as the trucks and the lot owner each have a permit;
-allow one food truck per 30 parking spaces in other commercial districts, with permits;
-require food truck vendors to comply with local, county and state tax regulations and to display health permits at all times;
-require food truck vendors to dispose of all trash and grease, and forbid them to offer seating;
-restrict food truck signs to those permanently attached to the vehicles and a portable menu sign smaller than 6 square feet.

“Based on these regulations, would we be able to have a food truck at the Town Hall parking lot for council meetings?” asked Councilman Matt Czajkowski asked, the only question in the 20-minute hearing.

“I believe you can do that now,” principal planner Kendal Brown answered. “It’s public property, (you could) with a special permit.”

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bedford no longer running unopposed, faces seven competitors in CHCCS race

Posted by on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Chairwoman Jamezetta Bedford thought she had no opponents in her re-election bid. Today, eight days before the polls open, she learned she has to contend with seven other candidates also running for school board seats.

Jamezetta Bedford now finds herself fighting for one of five seats instead of easing her way to victory in an unopposed race.
  • Photo courtesy of Jamezetta Bedford
  • Jamezetta Bedford now finds herself fighting for one of five seats instead of easing her way to victory in an unopposed race.
Bedford thought she was running unopposed for a rare two-year term that opened when board member Joe Green moved out of town.

Seven other candidates, including three other incumbents, filed for four seats, all four-year terms.

But today, Bedford learned that she can't just run for a two-year term. The Orange County and North Carolina board of elections overlooked local election law passed in 1975 that requires all candidates to run in the same pool. The top four finishers will earn four-year terms, and the fifth place candidate will be awarded the two-year term.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

UNC housekeeping report reveals "lack of trust, overall frustration," Thorp offers changes

Posted by on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Update: Former Director of Housekeeping Services Bill Burston "is no longer employed" by UNC as of Wednesday, a campus spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Burston was removed from his director role in June amid employee complaints and reassigned to a new role. University Mail Services Director Lea Holt was named interim. The school will begin a search for a new full-time director immediately.

PRM Consulting, the Washington, D.C., firm UNC hired in March to investigate claims of discrimination, harassment and other poor working conditions in its housing department, released 45 recommendations for change Thursday, including a new performance evaluation for managers and an audit or all new hires and promotions.

Surveys with 400 housekeeping employees revealed “a culture with employee morale issues, lack of trust and overall frustration.”

At least 30 percent or those queried disagreed or strongly disagreed that work assignments are made fairly, that management promotes an environment of respect and dignity, free of harassment, discrimination and intimidation and that management cares about the welfare of its employees.

The full 121-page report, along with a message from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp can be found here. UNC paid PRM $104,000 for the study.

Results were detailed to housekeepers at three closed-to-the-media meetings Thursday to cover all shifts, before the report was publicly released.

Last year, the Indy reported that housekeepers were being suspended without pay for taking their entitled breaks. Housekeepers and their supporters rallied and delivered a collective grievance to Thorp.

In June, we reported that housekeeper Amanda Hulon filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against supervisor Wade Farrington stating that he offered her a promotion in exchange for sex and touched her inappropriately.

In his memo to faculty and staff, Thorp announced 10 steps to respond to the report, among them: establishing an advisory committee of housekeeping employees, conducting a study of salaries in the department to determine possible pay discrepancies and reviewing and revising recruitment and hiring practices,

“As expected, the report makes it clear that Housekeeping Services has substantial issues that the University must address. More importantly, the report also offers a host of recommendations and potential action items that we can consider, on both a short- and long-term basis,” Thorp wrote.

“I am absolutely committed to making things right in Housekeeping Services. We have been working to fix these problems, but those sincere attempts have fallen short.”

Look for analysis and more on the consultant’s report in Wednesday’s print edition.

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