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Friday, October 31, 2014

N.C. Senator Barefoot ad is ironic

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Wake County Senator Chad Barefoot has a new ad out attacking his Senate District 18 opponent, Sarah Crawford. In the House of Cards-style spot, Barefoot depicts a Crawford lookalike standing in the shadows of a cigar-smoking, whiskey-swilling caricature of her husband, Dan Crawford, a lobbyist for environmentalist group the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. “They live off money from his lobbying,” a woman’s voice intones. “As a Senator, she’d vote on the bills he’s paid to influence.” As lucrative as Big Clean Air and Water surely must be, one would think that a sitting state Senator—one whose seat was...

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

In final days of campaign, Tillis-Hagan close on spending too

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Election Day is Tuesday. Polls show Republican challenger Thom Tillis has tightened the gap with incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Likewise, spending by the Tillis and Hagan campaigns is close. If you're turned on the television or the radio in recent days, you might have noticed. According to the most recent reports to the Federal Election Commission, Hagan's campaign spent $2.4 million between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, compared to nearly $2 million spent by the Tillis camp. That's a much tighter spending margin than previous reporting periods. From July 1 to Sept. 30, Hagan's campaign spent $11.6 million, compared...

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Durham murder trial resumes Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 1:14 PM

The brother of a woman who died from a gunshot wound to the chest took the witness stand in Durham this morning and testified that his sister struggled with suicidal thoughts prior to her death. Kevin Surratt testified as a defense witness in the trial of Travis Daughtridge, who stands of accused of murdering his wife, Simeka Daughtridge, on Oct. 30, 2011, in the couple's home on Spruce Street. Thursday marked the fourth day of the trial. The State contends that Daughtridge shot Simeka in the chest after an argument. The defense argues it was a suicide. Daughtridge, 28, is facing...

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Hillsborough principal accused of blocking GSA leaves behind four-year contract

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Gloria Jones, the A.L. Stanback Middle School principal stepping down after staff accused her of blocking the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance, will leave behind a four-year contract worth $86,240 in annual compensation. Jones, whose last day will be Nov. 30, signed a contract with Orange County Schools in April that included $7,186 in monthly salary and supplements. The contract was approved by the system's Board of Education prior to an Indy report in June detailing students' and staff's complaints that she hindered the LGBT support group's startup for more than two years. School board members publicly criticized Jones for...

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2014 General Election: Early Voting by the Numbers

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 11:50 AM

We’re seven days in to early voting for this election cycle and nearly 600,000 votes have been cast across North Carolina. Seven days in to the general election in 2010, only around 252,000 votes had been cast across the state. Turnout in all four Triangle counties has been huge. With two days left of early voting, the number of votes cast in Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties exceeds the cumulative number of votes cast up to and including the seventh day of early voting in 2010, by two- or or three-fold. Of course for this election cycle, the number of days we...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday morning reading: Are our courts for sale?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM

The attack ads accusing Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson of siding with child molesters have been widely decried, even by her opponent Eric Levinson. This spring, a post-Citizens United dark money operation called Justice for All NC spent $900,000 on a failed blitz to knock Hudson, a registered Democrat out of the primary. Two days ago, the New York Times Joe Nocera weighed in. North Carolina has been a recent focal point for the Grey Lady, both for the Tillis/Hagan race that could swing the Senate, and for being a kind of testing ground for the efficacy of 21st century...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Popular local cyclist Kent Winberry dies from injuries in Durham traffic accident

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

The early evening of Oct. 18 was cool, 68 degrees, with a few scattered clouds, a perfect afternoon for cycling. Shortly before 6 p.m., Kent Winberry was biking east on Duke University Road, when Ernest Lipscomb, who was headed west, turned his Dodge Ram truck left onto Chapel Hill Road, striking Winberry. Winberry, a popular local cyclist and advocate, died last night from his injuries, according to Elizabeth Witzke, who posted this message on his CaringBridge page: "Our beautiful, kind, creative, quirky, adventurous, and loving friend and family member, Kent, died tonight. His condition had declined rapidly. He died with family...

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Durham Civilian Police Review Board accepting applications for five seats

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

The Durham Civilian Police Review Board, which was involved in the city's tightening of the police department and protocol, is looking for new members. There are nine members on the board; the terms of five expire this year.  Applicants must be 21 and have lived inside the Durham City limits for the past three years. Applicants should also be up-to-date on any property taxes, including those assessed on cars. People who have been convicted of a felony, or pleaded no contest to a felony charge, are not eligible; neither are those who have been convicted of a A1, 1 or 2...

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Monday, October 27, 2014

School principal accused of blocking GSA is stepping down

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 4:17 PM

The Hillsborough middle school principal accused of hindering the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance for more than two years is stepping down. Administration for Orange County Schools confirmed this week that A.L. Stanback Middle School Principal Gloria Jones has submitted her resignation. Her last day at the school will be Nov. 30. Jones did not return Indy messages, so it’s unclear why the principal is stepping down. But she has been criticized by leadership on the system’s Board of Education for her handling of the GSA issue. Students and staff at the school said she blocked creation of the...

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Conservative dark money launches pro-Haugh ad campaign

Posted By on Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

We are now less than two weeks away from Election Day, which might seem like an odd time for any group to begin funneling money into any candidate. That is until you cut through the bullshit. The American Future Fund, a right-wing nonprofit based out of Iowa, has launched an ad campaign in support of Libertarian senate candidate Sean Haugh. Though you won’t see Haugh’s approval on any of the conservative group’s ads, which feature young people championing Haugh’s anti-war and pro-legalization of marijuana platforms, the group has reportedly spent $225,000 on its last minute campaign and is planning to...

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Knightdale pizzeria, sports bar raided by SBI

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 4:43 PM

A three-month investigation into a Knightdale pizzeria and a sports bar and grill resulted charges against nine people—eight for drug offenses—the State Bureau of Investigation is reporting. Rudino’s Pizza and Grinders, located at 4022 Village Park Dr., and The Sports Page, located at 835 N. Smithfield Rd., had come under investigation by the SBI’s Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch after the Knightdale Police Department alerted them to consistent violations of drug and alcohol laws. A team of about 20 agents and officers executed the search warrant at about 11 p.m. yesterday. In an interview, SBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Josh...

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Most N.C. lawmakers have terrible environmental voting records

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM

The past couple of years have been rough on the environment in North Carolina. There was the Dan River coal ash spill last winter, the fast-tracking of fracking this summer, the rollback on pollution control and regulatory measures and the ongoing removal of knowledgeable scientists and experts from the state’s environmental oversight boards. And then, there’s the blatant disregard for the environment on display by the majority of the members of the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters released its 2014 legislative scorecard this week, and the environmentalist group says the voting scores of North Carolina...

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Triangle Latino group targets Hagan's immigration record in new billboard

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Undocumented, unafraid! Undocumented, unafraid! A crowd of thirteen or fourteen young, undocumented Latino activists gathered in the Waffle House parking lot on Hillsborough Road in Durham yesterday, unveiling a large billboard that targets Senator Kay Hagan for her record on immigration issues. The billboard, which is in Spanish, features a picture of Sen. Hagan and reads: She started with the licenses, voted against DACA [deferred action for childhood arrivals]—What will she do next? Senator Hagan is anti-immigrant. *Paid for by Latino families. Viridiana Martinez, 28, is the Sanford-based co-founder of the volunteer-run NC DREAM TEAM and the National...

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Durham Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission OKs memorial policy, but with one change

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM

The Durham Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission voted 9–1 to support the city's "Memorials on City Property" policy with one important exception. As the INDY reported earlier this week, the proposed policy would allow the city to remove roadside memorials (ghost bikes, flowers, altars, mementoes) from the right-of-way 30 days after city personnel noticed them—if the items posed a public safety hazard or "interfered with the public enjoyment." The commission suggested revising the wording to say that the 30-day period for memorial removal "would be triggered only if the City receives a complaint from someone who says that they live or...

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

N.C. State students protest tuition, construction, shortened library hours

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Dozens of students at N.C. State University walked out of their classes Thursday afternoon in protest of several recent changes on campus. The walkout, organized by three student activist groups, aligns with protests at UNC campuses across the state this week aimed at demanding a better funded, more inclusive and debt-free UNC system. At N.C. State in particular, students protested soaring tuition rates, as well as the shortened hours campus libraries are now open and the numerous construction projects students say lack budgetary transparency. UNC system tuition has increased by 34 percent since 2007, while state spending per student is...

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Thursday morning read: the national trend influencing the Triangle's apartment/condo boom

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

If you talk to people about the recent rush of new apartments and condos being built in Raleigh and Durham, the question always arises: Who is going to live in these places? Well, The New York Times published an interesting story today about the huge growth in construction of apartments and condos nationwide. More people in their 20s and 30s who don't want to be chained to a mortgage, especially after seeing the effects of the housing meltdown, are opting for renting. (That also goes for middle-aged people, like me and my husband, who've never owned a home, and have...

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Investigation pins UNC-CH academic scandal on a pair of academic administrators

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Coaches, academic advisers, administrators in the university's African and Afro-American Studies Department and the university itself are all the culprits in a long-awaited report released Wednesday into UNC-Chapel Hill's ongoing academic scandal. The 136-page report from former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein delves deeper than any previous probe into the scandal, which unfolded after the NCAA began looking into benefits received by former football players in 2010 and expanded to include many other sports at the university. The report primarily points the finger at former department director Julius Nyang’oro and a manager, Deborah Crowder, for offering hundreds of irregular classes between...

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More election fun: Watch the Orange County candidates' forum

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 4:45 PM

The same evening the INDY co-sponsored a candidates' forum in Wake County, we also hosted and filmed one at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill for Orange County candidates. Commissioner candidates Mia Burroughs (D), whom we endorsed, and her opponent, Gary Kahn (R) participated, as did three Democrats for legislative races: Valerie Foushee of Senate 23, Graig Meyer of House 50 and Verla Insko of House 56—all of whom received our endorsements.  We invited their Republican counterparts, and they either did no respond or declined.  ...

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Latest Public Policy Polling survey: Kay Hagan 46, Thom Tillis 43, Sean Haugh 5

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Early voting starts tomorrow, and Kay Hagan is maintaining her slim lead over Thom Tillis by 3 percentage points, according to a PPP survey. Libertarian Sean Haugh's 5 percent is within that difference, but his polling has fallen since summer.  Neither major-party candidate is inspiring confidence with voters, but Hagan, whom the INDY endorsed, is apparently the lesser of two evils. She has "only" a -9 approval rating, while Tillis has a -12. Hagan leads among women, young voters and African-Americans, while Tillis is "popular" (if we can use that word for him) among men, white voters and seniors. In...

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Watch now: Wake County candidates' forum

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 2:05 PM

The INDY co-sponsored a Wake County candidates' forum last month with the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, IN-PAC, The Triangle Community Foundation and Zeta Phi Beta. We filmed the forum to give our readers who couldn't attend the event insight into the candidates' views. Early voting starts Thursday, Oct. 23 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4....

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Raleigh extends discrimination protection to transgender City employees

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Raleigh became the sixth city in the state to protect transgender workers from employment discrimination Tuesday afternoon. In a unanimous vote, members of the City Council revised the City of Raleigh’s non-discrimination policy language to include non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, in addition to sexual orientation. The move came after a report from the City’s Human Relations Commission last month recommended expanding the non-discrimination policy to protect various groups from discrimination, including on the basis of actual or perceived age, mental or physical disability, religion, familial or marital status, economic status and veteran status. Raleigh joins...

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Youth mobility stagnates in Southern metros like Raleigh

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Raleigh is used to placing in “Top Ten” and “Best Of” national lists, but the City of Oaks is falling short in an important area. In a recent study, Raleigh was ranked 94th out of 100 in youth mobility; contrast that with its number one spot on Forbes magazine’s “Best Places for Business and Careers” list. And Raleigh is not alone. According to Durham non-profit MDC’s State of the South 2014 report, economically vibrant Southern metros like Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston are doing a poor job of propelling their own young people up the ladder of social...

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Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission to discuss proposed ghost bike policy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 7:51 AM

Every day, thousands of cars pass Seth Vidal’s white ghost bike along Hillandale Road, a reminder of the well-known cyclist who died in a hit-and-run accident two years ago. Thousands more pass the ghost bike of Joshua Johnson, which marks the spot at University Drive and Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, where the 33-year-old died after being hit on his scooter in August 2013. Like roadside flowers, altars and mementoes, these white bicycles signify where a tragedy has happened. They can remain in the public right-of-ways for years. Now the city wants to regulate memorials posted in the right-of-way, allowing...

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Monday, October 20, 2014

League of American Bicyclists in Durham for discussion on making city safer for cyclists

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 8:50 AM

It’s time to ditch our cars. They’re high maintenance, demanding to parked and washed, repaired and fueled. Instead, don a helmet and hop on a bike. Steve Clark of the League of American Bicyclists is leading an important discussion today to discuss how Durham can improve its roads and greenways for safer biking. Clark, who is the league’s Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist, is visiting Durham because the city is on its priority list. The presentation happens from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Durham City Hall (Mangum Street between Parrish and Chapel Hill streets). It is open to the public, and...

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Republicans defend possible Board of Elections conflict

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Republican leaders are defending their choice to hire an attorney married to the state's top elections administrator to defend North Carolina in its ongoing voter ID litigation. As reported in this week's Indy, State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach is married to Phil Strach, one of a team of attorneys representing the N.C. General Assembly and the Board of Elections in the lawsuit. As of early October, her husband's firm, in which he is a shareholder, had billed the state for $1.14 million in legal fees. The case will likely be heard next year. Because the funding...

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