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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parks Guru: Ideas for Dix Should Arise on Site, Not Be Manufactured in Traditional Political Settings

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 3:50 PM

Raleigh's plan for Dix Park should be conceived right there among its more than three hundred rolling acres, with diverse groups of people trying out diverse sorts of activities. That was the word from a veteran parks and communities expert who talked to a crowd at the City of Raleigh Museum Wednesday. A visionary plan that contributes to an "inclusionary, participatory democracy" can't be crafted in a traditional public hearing with politically experienced people presenting mainstream ideas to an accommodating staff, said Mickey L. Fearn, a professor of the practice at N.C. State's College of Natural Resources and a former deputy...

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North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 1:09 PM

At a press conference and in a press release this morning, North Carolina FC—formerly the Carolina Railhawks—announced that, as part of their bid to join Major League Soccer, they had partnered with megadeveloper John Kane (think North Hills, Warehouse District) to plot out this rendering of a mixed-use stadium, which they’d like to place on a thirteen-acre parcel on the north end of downtown Raleigh. The parcel is state-owned, underdeveloped, and would, according to a Facebook post from Wake County Commissioner John Burns, go about where the outline is below. From the press conference, while it’s still early days, it...

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Farmworkers Blast Governor Cooper for Signing a Bill They Say Hurts Their Ability to Unionize

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Farmworkers were joined by other activists outside Raleigh’s Capitol building Tuesday to denounce a bill that they say threatens their ability to organize. Senate Bill 615, signed by Governor Cooper last Wednesday, makes it illegal for farmers to deduct voluntary union dues from their workers’ paychecks and also prohibits workers from reaching a legal settlement as part of a union agreement. Justin Flores, vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, says it’s a shameful attack on the union’s ability to raise funds and hobbles a proven strategy for farmworkers who are already earning very little in reaching agreements...

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Durham's First Sustainability Report Finds Residential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Down 7 Percent

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Among the highlights of the city of Durham's first-ever sustainability report: residential greenhouse gas emissions are down 7 percent since 2008, despite population growth, and Durham residents are using 23 percent less water than the average North Carolinian. The report looks at the city's waste management, energy efficiency, transportation system and green infrastructure, and some future sustainability projects. ”In addition to shedding light on Durham’s recent accomplishments, the information will help inform a comprehensive Sustainability Plan,” says city sustainability specialist Erin Victor. “By reflecting on our progress, we can identify new opportunities to make Durham an even more resilient and...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 10:05 PM

As Triangle commuters Tuesday night heard radio news updates about a failed Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, protesters high above Interstate 40 made clear their continued opposition to the effort. Near Southpoint mall, where the American Tobacco Trail passes over I-40, about forty protesters brandished signs reading "Sink Trumpcare" and "Health Care 4 All."  The demonstration is one of eleven scheduled this week by groups around the state to protest the healthcare plan considered by the Senate, which a recent Public Policy Polling survey found just 20 percent of voters support. The GOP's pledge to replace...

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Wake School Board Ponders New Talks With Commissioners Over Funding

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 8:03 PM

Presented with the kinds of cuts Wake County schools face in the new budget year, school board members said Tuesday it was time to sit down with their counterparts on the county commission to once again present the system's “acute needs.” In a school board afternoon work session, financial officer Mark Winters presented a pared-down budget that still showed a roughly $13 million shortfall. The Board of Commissioners, which doles out a portion of county funding to the schools, refused the schools' request for $45 million in new funding this spring, instead offering $16 million in new money along with...

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Trump More Corrupt Than Nixon, and Health Care Is a Disaster for the GOP, PPP Survey Finds

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 2:37 PM

It's been another blockbuster week for the GOP. After spending seven years slandering Barack Obama's signature health care law and pledging to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, Republicans woke up this morning to a harsh reality. Their signature promise to replace Obamacare failed abysmally, after four Senate Republicans defected—some because it was too draconian, others because it wasn't draconian enough. For now, at least, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's best efforts, it appears as though Obamacare is the law of the land. This, of course, comes in the wake of news that rocked the party last week, after...

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Durham Activist Umar Muhammad Killed In Motorcyle Crash

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 7:24 PM

Umar Muhammad, who fought to help the formerly incarcerated have a second chance at life, died in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon, according to the Durham Police Department. Muhammad, who was thirty, worked as a community organizer for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. He raised two twin boys and recently had a baby girl. “He was so, so hungry for knowledge. He was so earnest, so eager, so passionate,” said Omisade Burney-Scott, who began working with Muhammad through SpiritHouse about five years ago. He had a “megawatt smile” and was “over the moon” about the birth of his...

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Study: Women in Wake County See Wage Gap Worse Than in Austin or Boston

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 4:52 PM

A study released Monday shows major gender-based wage gaps among employees in Wake County, in many cases detailing larger gaps between men's and women's salaries than those seen in comparative markets in Boston and Austin, Texas. The Wake County Board of Commissioners received a report from a sixteen-member task force, a panel that resulted from a 2016 Wake County Women’s Commission study on women's employment issues. "We ended up with some really disturbing figures for the wage gap for women in Wake County," former Commissioner Carolina Sullivan said. The new study, by Meredith professors David McLennan and Whitney Ross Manzo,...

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

If Governor Cooper Wins His State Board of Elections Lawsuit, Will Wake Dems Lose?

Posted By and on Sat, Jul 15, 2017 at 8:49 AM

On Thursday morning, Gerry Cohen, a former special counsel for the General Assembly, made an interesting observation on Facebook: both the Democratic and Republican parties of Wake County missed the statutory deadline to nominate candidates for the county Board of Elections this year. And that, he wrote, meant that if Governor Cooper was successful in his effort to overturn a law passed last year reconfiguring the structure of elections boards, the Wake board would consist of “two Libertarians and an unaffiliated voter.” (Cooper has so far been rejected by the courts, but he is appealing.) Here’s why: the old state...

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Meet the Small-Town Pastor Walking to DC from North Carolina to Protest Medicaid Cuts

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 6:39 PM

On an otherwise uneventful Sunday, fifty-one-year-old pastor James Brigman was preaching a sermon about Abraham and Isaac at his church in Rockingham when he heard a voice. Not just any voice, mind you, but God’s, with a simple message: practice what you preach. Brigman has a daughter with special medical needs, and he’d been thinking about the Senate's proposed health care plan, which could make drastic cuts to the Medicaid-funded program his family relies on. And so, less than a week after his epiphany and without any preparation, Brigman laced up his shoes and decided to walk the 356...

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Three New Raleigh Council Candidates Throw Their Hats in the Ring

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 6:22 PM

Three new candidates for Raleigh City Council had filed papers with the Wake County Board of Elections by the close of business Friday. They were Robert William Axtell and William Stacy Miller III in the at-large race, in which the top two vote-getters win spots on the council. (Incumbent at-large member Russ Stephenson has filed to run—although Mary-Ann Baldwin has not—as has challenger Shelia Alamin-Khashoggi.) Meanwhile, Olen Leon Watson III filed to oppose incumbent Corey Branch and James G. Bledsoe in District C. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis seem likely to remain the highest-profile candidates in October 10 municipal...

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A Raleigh Family Asks a Court to Stop a Developer from Erecting a 28-Foot Wall Next to Their House

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Members of the Glover family have lived for more than fifty-eight years in the same one-story house on Raleigh’s Churchill Drive, where they have often enjoyed afternoons filled with bright western sunlight. That was true, according to a court filing, until a developer proceeded with construction on a thirty-two-hundred-square-foot house on the 0.23-acre lot next door. Less than six feet from the property line, one of the new house's eastern walls rises nearly twenty-eight feet above grade, right between the family and the sun. Other walls reach twenty-eight feet as well. “Our home used to be full of sunshine,” says...

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Watch U.S. Representative David Price’s Staffers Rap About the Budget or Something

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 10:28 AM

Last night, Triangle congressman Price posted this to Facebook, with the note: “Appropriations season means late nights, but I am lucky to have the most talented staff on Capitol Hill. Here’s proof:” Judge for yourself. ...

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Durham Public Schools and a Contractor Agree to Pay $77K to Settle Claims of Custodial Workers Owed Back Pay and Overtime

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 6:32 PM

In a settlement approved by a federal court today, custodial workers who worked for Integrity Facilities Management LLC, which contracted with Durham Public Schools, secured pay they are owed but never received. The N.C. Justice Center, representing 149 plaintiffs in a case against DPS and a contractor, SSC Service Solutions, settled for $77,000, which will be divided among the workers based on how much they are owed. The settlement comes after lawyers at the N.C. Justice Center discovered that Integrity Facilities Management, which filed for bankruptcy in 2014, underpaid workers and did not properly pay them for overtime hours. Workers...

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McFarlane Plans to Run for Fourth Term on Her Record

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, officially filing to keep her job Thursday, says she’ll campaign on her record of leading a city where most residents are “pretty happy,” according to a survey. That doesn’t mean she’s brushing off the candidacy of banker-attorney Charles Francis, fifty-four, who became the first to file for mayor last week. October 10 municipal elections will include contested races for city council as well as for the mayor’s job. "I see every race as competitive," McFarlane said after signing up at the Wake County Board of Elections. She was accompanied by a passel of family, from husband...

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Barber Remains Banned from NCGA Visits Unless a Judge Permits

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:38 AM

The Reverend William J. Barber Jr. will remain barred from the General Assembly while a second-degree trespassing charge is pending, unless a judge authorizes his return, court records show. In a Wednesday hearing at the Wake County Justice Center, District Court Judge Michael J. Dennis upheld parts of a May 30 order that barred civil rights leader Barber, fifty-three, from the General Assembly. The ruling came after a hearing in which Barber and others asked that the conditions of their release—not returning to the legislative building—be modified. "Defendant shall not to return to the North Carolina Legislative Building for...

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hundreds of Eviction Cases Come Through Durham Courts Each Month. A New Program Aims to Change That.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 5:49 PM

Durham County has the highest eviction filing rate among North Carolina’s ten largest counties. A collaboration between Duke's Civil Justice Clinic, the Durham County Department of Social Services and Legal Aid of North Carolina aims to change that. From July 2015 to June 2016, there was one eviction case brought to magistrate court for every twenty-eight Durham residents. On average, 887 eviction cases were filed each month in that one-year-period. The total for the previous year was even higher, with an average of 916 filings per month. The statistics are sobering in a county struggling to provide affordable housing for...

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Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Durham Mayor Bill Bell is challenging local landlords and the Durham Housing Authority to house another thirty homeless households with rent vouchers within in the next seven months. It's part of an effort, discussed Tuesday morning during the annual Mayor's Landlord Roundtable, to get more local landlords to accept rent subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8. The DHA administers the vouchers locally. Thirty is a small number compared with how many people need affordable housing, but, as Bell said, it's part of a larger "vision" to end homelessness...

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DSI Comedy Will Close August 28, Zach Ward Says

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 7:40 AM

DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill will close August 28, its founder announced this morning. The news comes after Zach Ward, who started the theater in 2001, faced accusations on social media of sexual harassment, discrimination in giving stage time to women performers, and unfair pay. Ward has said a sexual encounter with a patron detailed in a Facebook post did not occur as described and denied allegations that he created a toxic environment at DSI and took advantage of performers' free labor. Ward, who also founded the N.C. Comedy Arts Festival, said in a statement this morning that the theater will...

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

CASA Buys Two Durham Apartment Complexes, Adding 79 Units of Affordable Housing to Its Portfolio

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:38 PM

Nonprofit housing provider CASA has added seventy-nine apartments to its portfolio of affordable units in Durham, Wake, and Orange counties. (In case you haven't heard, Durham is in need of affordable housing). CASA announced Tuesday that it had purchased the forty-four-unit Underwood Apartments on Underwood Avenue in Durham and the thirty-five-unit Maplewood Apartments on West Chapel Hill Road in Durham, bringing its total stock to 490. The complexes were built by the same developer. “This acquisition allows us to preserve the Underwood and Maplewood apartments as affordable rental housing in Durham and gives the current tenants assurance that their rent will remain...

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John Odom’s In. What About Mary-Ann Baldwin? Updates from the Raleigh City Council Races.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis seem likely to remain the highest profile candidates in October 10 municipal elections, but city council races are starting to take shape as well. Among the council contents, filings submitted by Tuesday found at-large member Russ Stephenson opposed by Shelia Alamin-Khashoggi (formerly Shelia Jones). In District B, David Cox filed Tuesday to run for re-election for the seat he won following his efforts to ward off high-profile growth in his district. Long-time Wake and Raleigh politician John Odom told the N&O Tuesday that he will oppose Cox in the District B. However,...

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What Do North Carolina's Members of Congress Have to Say About the Donald Trump Jr./Russia Revelations?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:22 PM

The Trump family made headlines once again this morning with a major revelation about Donald Trump Jr.’s dealings with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton. The details of the encounter, which were first published as an email exchange on Twitter by none other than Donald Trump Jr. himself, came after days of dogged reporting by The New York Times, which essentially backed Trump Jr. into a corner by claiming it was in possession of the emails. The bizarre exchange shows Trump Jr. agreeing to meet with a lawyer who was said to possess damaging information about...

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Federal Fraud Commission Halts Voter Data Request

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 7:43 PM

North Carolinians troubled by a controversial request by President Trump's election fraud commission to collect voter information may find some solace in recent news that the project has been put on hold. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is asking states to hold off on sending voter information to the White House by its July 14 deadline until a lawsuit filed against the commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit privacy group based in Washington, D.C., is resolved. According to court documents, the voter fraud commission asked state election officials this morning to pause the request until the judge...

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Autopsy: Willard Scott Was Shot In The Back by Trooper

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Two days after the family of Willard Scott Jr. demanded answers in the thirty-one-year-old's death, an autopsy report has been released showing he was shot in the back by a highway patrolman. Scott was killed February 12 after Trooper Jerimy Mathis attempted to pull him over on Duke Street for driving erratically. The trooper pursued Scott's vehicle and when Scott got out of the car and ran, Mathis chased him on foot before firing at Scott. A gun that did not belong to the Highway Patrol was found at the scene. The autopsy shows Scott was shot in the left...

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I truly admire the passion and support the message. But it seems standing on an overpass during rush hour traffic …

by Diane Alenezi on High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All" (News)

This will turn the Mordecai neighborhood & surrounding neighborhoods (one of the only places in downtown Raleigh with any character …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

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