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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Raleigh Planning Commission considering changes to 2030 Comprehensive Plan

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan establishes a vision for the City of Raleigh and is supposed to provide long-range policy guidance for growth and development. But recently, residents have complained that proposals from developers have strayed from the guidelines set forth in the comprehensive plan, and that city planning staff and the City Council have been content to let that slide. Now, in an effort to clarify the definitions of what kinds of developments are appropriate for neighborhoods, the body that advises the City Council on future growth and development issues is considering a number of changes to the Comprehensive Plan...

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In Durham, demonstrators peacefully protest Ferguson decision

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 1:00 PM

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Brutality claim against Wake detenion officers moves forward

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees North Carolina's federal courts, has declined to throw out a lawsuit accusing three Wake County Detention Center officers of using excessive force. In 2011 Eugene Dunston, an on-again, off-again inmate at the jail, sued the officers, as well as Sheriff Donnie Harrison, claiming that he failed to investigate previous complaints of brutality. The complaint alleged that Michael Hayes,  master detention officer, got upset after Dunston closed his mouth after 10 minutes during a strip search. Dunston claimed that Hayes, a bodybuilder, grabbed the nude Dunston by his neck and flung him headfirst...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Chatham Park back for rezoning

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 4:17 PM

After much back and forth, Chatham Park is back again. Once again, Pittsboro town leaders will hold a public hearing tonight on the future of Chatham Park, the long-planned development in the rural county that figures to increase the county's population by a factor of twelve in the next three decades.Developers Chatham Park Investors LLC have submitted a rezoning application that would add 46 acres to the development district and make a few amendments to the park's master plan, including offering the town more strength in approving or denying future portions of the development. The rezoning comes after a group...

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Expert challenges investigation of scene of Lennon Lacy's death

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

An expert pathologist hired to review local and state authorities’ handling of Lennon Lacy’s purported suicide in August released a report Thursday, criticizing many of the actions taken by local law enforcement. Dr. Christena Roberts, who was retained by the North Carolina NAACP at the request of Lacy’s family, met with the state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch, who conducted the original autopsy on the Bladenboro teenager’s body. Roberts raised challenges to the way Lacy’s body was handled by law enforcement officers when he was discovered hanging from a trailer park swing set, the way the local medical examiner...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

New report shows North Carolina can achieve 20 percent solar by 2030

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 11:33 AM

A report released this week by Environment North Carolina’s Research and Policy Center shows that solar power is growing quickly in the state. So quickly, in fact, that solar power could generate 20 percent of North Carolina’s electricity within 15 years, a goal that was once considered improbable. Currently, the solar industry employs 3100 people in North Carolina and the state ranks third nationally in total solar power capacity, though solar power makes up less than one percent of the state’s energy use as of now. But researchers found that North Carolina’s solar capacity has grown 127 percent since 2010....

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Durham City Council to discuss affordable housing, transit and Erwin Square project today

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Affordable housing and mass transit, both in short supply in Durham, are on today’s City Council agenda, specifically the Erwin Square Project. Council meets at 1 p.m. If Council approves a rezoning, which could happen Monday night, Erwin Square would be built to capacity, the 9.8-acre project could have 322 residential units, 168,000 square feet of office, 192,000 square feet of commercial and 45,000 square feet of “public and civic use.” To give you a sense of the non-residential space, that’s about twice the square-footage of the average Target store. But it’s those 322 residential units, situated right on the...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NC Court of Appeals denies first appeal of video gambling law

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled yesterday on the first criminal appeal of a law banning video gambling since the NC Supreme Court upheld it two years ago. In publishing an opinion in State v. Chapman, Spruil, the court affirmed the convictions of two men who operated an Edgecombe County internet cafe.  In 2010 the NC legislature enacted NCGS §14-306.4, titled "Electronic machines and devices for sweepstakes prohibited." The law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate an "entertaining display" allowing patrons to play gambling games like poker, bingo, craps or pot-of-gold. Any second offense would be considered a felony....

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Durham murder suspect charged

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM

The Durham Police Department announced today that investigators arrested a Durham teenager and charged him with a murder that occurred in October. Sixteen-year-old Myquan Deshun Spears was charged with the murder of Willie Shon Sadler, 43, who was discovered dead on Oct. 22 inside a vehicle on East Weaver Street in Durham. Investigators initially believed that Sadler's death may have been due to cardiac arrest. But an autopsy two days later concluded that he had been beaten to death.  The Durham police reported that investigators were told that Sadler was attacked by a group of unknown assailants.  Sadlers death does...

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Family of Lennon Lacy requests federal investigation into suspicious death

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Together with the North Carolina NAACP, the family of the Bladenboro teenager who was found dead this summer has requested that the U.S. Justice Department join the ongoing SBI investigation into Lennon Lacy’s death. The seventeen year-old star high school football player, who was black, was found hanging from a child’s swing set in a predominantly white trailer park late on a morning in late August. Lacy’s death was quickly ruled a suicide by local investigators who concluded that the boy was depressed following the death of his uncle. But Lacy’s mother, Claudia Lacy, does not believe her son was...

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After teen's death in Raleigh, gun control advocates renew calls for reform

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM

After an apparently stray bullet killed a Forsyth County teen in a Raleigh hotel room last week, North Carolina gun control advocates are renewing their calls for firearms reforms. According to ABC News, Nathan Andrew Clark, 13, of Lewisville, died after a bullet discharged in a neighboring hotel room. Police said the bullet passed through the wall and struck Clark in the head. The gun's owner, 42-year-old Randall Louis Vater, was reportedly charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon. State records show Vater has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for felony breaking and entering,...

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Child Fatality Task Force backs cameras on school buses

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Today a subcommittee of the Child Fatality Task Force, which includes state legislators and child safety experts, voted to support a plan to equip all public school buses in North Carolina with cameras to photograph the license plates of any vehicle that illegally passes a stopped school bus. The task force had been lobbied to support the idea by Attorney General Roy Cooper, who presented the plan at today's meeting and issued a follow-up press release. Photographs of offenders’ license plates would be used to automatically issue civil citations to registered vehicle owners. Monetary penalties would go to public schools....

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Fracking commission finishes its rules

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 2:23 PM

As expected, the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission completed its proposed regulations for the natural gas drilling industry on Friday. Also expected, many environmental activists are not happy with the results, which state lawmakers are expected to finalize next year. Read the recommended rules here. "With all of the challenges of NC’s shallow shale formations, high population density, no regulatory experience and a tiny gas supply, why would we do this?" said Hope Taylor, executive director of Clean Water for N.C. "It’s a waste of public effort and resources to benefit a handful of folks.” After receiving more than 200,000...

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

North Raleigh residents worried about water, traffic, loss of revenue

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM

At a town hall meeting Wednesday evening, District A City Council representative Wayne Maiorano asked his constituents to share what was on their minds. The residents who filled the lodge at Durant Nature Park had a lot to say. At the top of their list of concerns was water. Resident Georgia McLain said she is tired of the trash, sewage and mosquitos accumulating when stormwater runoff flows into a ditch on her property in Village Grove. “I have to clean it and get sick,” she said, a routine that wasn’t part of the deal when she bought the property 32...

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Durham police arrest two men for robbing pizza deliveryman

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

An armed robbery on Tuesday of a Durham pizza deliveryman  has led to the arrest of two men. The robbery occurred on the 400 block of East Pilot Street at 7:41 p.m. Javonta Lakeith Williams, 20, and Leon Deshaun Johnson, 17, were charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony conspiracy, larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting, delaying and obstructing officers. Williams was also charged with possession of stolen goods and driving without a license.  According to Durham police, two armed men with bandanas concealing their faces approached the...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Four NC families sue banks for funding terrorism during Iraq War

Posted By on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM

On Jan. 20, 2007, U.S. military officers and their Iraqi counterparts met at the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, to plan security coordination for the upcoming observance of the Shi'a Muslim holiday of Ashura. Just after nightfall a five-car convoy of black GMC Suburban trucks—commonly used by American troops—made its way through three checkpoints, carrying about a dozen men dressed in U.S. military-style fatigues. The men, however, were terrorists with the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or the "Promised Day Brigades," according to the U.S. government. After entering the compound they threw grenades and opened...

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Raleigh on trend with other U.S. cities in outlawing distributing food to homeless people

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Raleigh made national news last year when police threatened to arrest faith leaders who were handing out biscuits to homeless people in Moore Square Park. But, as we learned last week after a 90-year old Florida man was arrested for doing the same thing, Raleigh isn't the only city where it's illegal to give food to hungry people. A recent report from the National Coalition for the Homeless has found that 21 cities have passed legislation prohibiting residents from sharing food with homeless people since January 2013, and another ten cities are in the process of passing similar laws. Cities...

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Alamance man's plan to cry on witness stand can be disclosed, judges confirm

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM

An Alamance County man on trial for carjacking should bear responsibility for his plan to cry on the witness stand, a panel of judges for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals claimed in a ruling issued yesterday out of Richmond, Va. The three-member panel denied defendant Marvin Davis' appeal from a 2012 trial in U.S. federal court  Greensboro, in which Davis was convicted on charges of carjacking and brandishing a firearm in an act of violence. Davis had argued there was insufficient evidence to support the carjacking conviction, and that the testimony of a jailhouse informant, who alleged that Davis hatched...

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Following GSA controversy, A.L. Stanback Middle School names interim principal

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Orange County Schools has chosen former Wake County principal Jan Hargrove to serve as interim principal at A.L. Stanback Middle School. The Indy reported last month that the school's current principal, Gloria Jones, is stepping down following complaints from parents and staff who accused her of blocking the formation of a school Gay-Straight Alliance for more than two years. Jones will remain as the school's administrator through November. She did not say why she is resigning, but members of the system's Board of Education publicly criticized the principal for her handling of the LGBT support group this year. The club,...

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Veteran's Day factoid: 157 members of military have become U.S. citizens in North Carolina this year

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 8:33 AM

It’s Veteran’s Day, and this morning 10 servicemen and women will become naturalized U.S. citizens under a federal program launched in 2001. The special ceremony starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Durham County Human Services Building, 414 E. Main St. Under the program, which started after the 9/11 attacks, non-citizen military members and veterans—and their families—may be eligible for expedited naturalization if they meet certain requirements. In the first six months of this year, at least 157 military members have been naturalized in North Carolina, according to federal data. The Raleigh field office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration...

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Monday, November 10, 2014

John Rhodes: Now the guy with 32 U.S. Senate votes

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Official write-in candidate for U.S. Senate John Rhodes increased his vote tally by 23 since last Thursday. That's when the INDY reported that the former state representative from Mecklenburg County,  who ran as a "constitutional conservative" to the right of eventual winner Thom Tillis, had garnered just nine votes, none of them apparently cast by Rhodes himself. On Friday, we called the N.C. Board of Elections to ask if the figures were correct—we've heard nothing yet—but updated numbers released today show that Rhodes, named among Americans for Prosperity's top legislators of the year in 2005, picked up 21 votes in Davidson...

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Apply by Nov. 19 for vacant Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board seat

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 1:03 PM

If you've ever wanted to serve on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, but didn't want to deal with an election campaign, here's your chance. Mia Burroughs is resigning from the board on Nov. 30 to serve on the Orange County Commission. She was elected to the seat on Tuesday. The board is taking applications for the seat through Nov. 19. The school system posted the information packet online. Here are more details from the school system's press release: An information session will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, at Lincoln Center, 750 S. Merritt...

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300 more apartments coming to downtown Durham—and none of them for us peasants

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM

We finally cleared the election haze from our eyes yesterday and read in the Triangle Business Journal that the Hendrick Durham Auto Mall property is being sold and converted into a mixed-use development with 308 luxury apartments—luxury meaning not affordable for us peasants who work downtown or would like to live in the city center. A Charlotte developer, CitiSculpt is purchasing the 12.5-acre property at 409 S. Roxboro St.,  which has a tax value of $7 million, the TBJ reported. Here's a quote from the story: "[CitiSculpt Managing partner Charles Lindsay McAlpine] explains that the site is divided in such...

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

John Rhodes: The guy with nine U.S. Senate votes

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Where did John Rhodes' friends go? The Facebook page for the John Rhodes U.S. Senate campaign has 386 likes, but he received just nine votes in the election. A former Republican turned constitutional conservative—that term might get him points in a high school history class, but it's just code for tea partier—Rhodes was the only official write-in U.S. Senate candidate. As a Republican, Rhodes represented northern Mecklenburg County in the N.C. House from 2002 to 2006, when Tillis defeated him in the GOP primary. Rhodes then switched his voter registration to unaffiliated. Although he reportedly said in March that he didn't plan...

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Three Marines with NC links indicted in fraud case involving president's helicopter

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 11:31 AM

One active Marine and two retired Marines with ties to Camp Lejeune, N.C., have been indicted by a federal grand jury for defrauding the government in an effort to win a contract to service Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which is tasked with transporting the president and vice president of the United States. The indictment alleges that Chief Warrant Officer Craig Kolhagen, who had been the squadron's contracts representative, leaked confidential information regarding the cost of a proposed contract for helicopter maintenance to two former Marines who ran Valour LLC Leading Edge Solutions, a Louisiana-based defense contractor that specializes in aircraft...

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