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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Durham Chamber of Commerce lauds SCOTUS gay marriage decision

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Creative Commons LicenseBack in 2012, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce was the first North Carolina business group to declare its opposition to Amendment One, a short-lived, voter-approved ban on gay marriage. Fittingly in 2015, the group is celebrating the Supreme Court's epic decision last week to order that gay marriage be permitted across the country. On Tuesday, Chamber Chairman Bill Brian described discriminatory policies such as Amendment One as "obstructions to talent attraction." The chairman's statement echoed those of major business leaders such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Coca-Cola, all of which officially stated their support for marriage equality...

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Bree Newsome speaks about her removal of Confederate flag

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 5:16 PM

Bree Newsome, the North Carolina woman who on Saturday removed the Confederate flag from its pole in front of the South Carolina State Capitol, released her first statement since her arrest. “The morning after the Charleston Massacre, I realized I had been shaken to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising," she wrote in the four-page statement, titled "Now is the time for true courage." Newsome scaled the flagpole in a climber's harness early in the morning. When told to...

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Allegation No. 5 of discrimination lodged against N.C. Central University

Posted By and on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 2:25 PM

A fifth allegation of discrimination—this time on the basis of gender—has been filed against North Carolina Central University, this time by NCCU language and literature professor James Pearce. It contains allegations that are similar to previous filings lodged by plaintiffs in the cases against the UNC Board of Governors, NCCU and University Chancellor Debra Saunders-White. All the plaintiffs are represented by the Noble Law Firm of Chapel Hill. Pearce’s letter of complaint claims that “the University has discriminated against me on the basis of gender and that it has retaliated against me” and that he was not selected...

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Downtown Durham's (not-so-secret) free
parking spaces

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 12:50 PM

You can see it from at least a block away, the dreaded iridescent orange envelope slipped under your car's windshield wiper. You've been ticketed. Ten clams, OK, you might reason. That's only 2 more than if you had parked all day in one of Durham's city garages rather than a two-hour space.  Well that orange envelope just got more expensive. As of Wednesday, July 1, the price of a parking ticket in Durham increases to $20. OK, I'll try not to sound smug when I suggest you drive less and take the bus more, because many of you coming in...

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Chapel Hill, Carrboro municipal races filling up fast

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Creative Commons LicenseThe good/bad thing about politics: Just when you think you're done with them, filing season begins anew. Filing begins July 6 for a full slate of local races in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. On Monday, Carrboro Alderman Damon Seils became the latest entry into the race when he announced his intention to seek re-election. Three seats on the Carrboro board—held by Seils, Bethany Chaney and Michelle Johnson—will be up for election in 2015, along with the mayor's seat. Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Johnson have already announced their intentions to run again. No word from Chaney, who won her...

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Escaped inmate captured (no, not that one)

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 9:39 AM

David Sweat, the inmate whose prison escape in New York led to a three-week manhunt that ended yesterday near the Canadian border, wasn't the only prisoner on the lam this weekend. In North Carolina, law enforcement officials were also in search for a convicted murderer who escaped Friday evening from the Brown Creek Correctional Institution, a minimum-level prison in Polkton. The hunt for Kristopher McNeil, 29, ended yesterday at around 11 p.m., after citizens recognized him walking along Old Highway 52 near the Davidson/Forsyth County border. After his capture, McNeil was booked at the Davidson County Jail. He is scheduled to be...

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Friday, June 26, 2015

“Feeling Good”: a Raleigh man on what today’s gay-marriage ruling means for him

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 4:13 PM

“How’s it going, man?” “It’s fucking great!”  I called Jeremy Sprinkle, the communications director for the N.C. AFL-CIO—and, disclosure, someone in my short time here I’ve come to think of as a friend—about an hour after the Supreme Court ruling came down. He was, in a word, ecstatic, so much so that he left work early and walked the 20 minutes to Tasty Beverage Co. (where his husband, Ziggy, works, though Ziggy is out of town at The BIG What? today) in the Depot, singing Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” out loud the entire way.  “I just can’t get that...

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45 North Raleigh homeowners file zoning protest petition on “Publix” site

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 3:11 PM

If you, reasonable person, believed that the City Council’s unanimous vote on May 12 to deny the rezoning of the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads to a commercial district was going to put the kibosh on the matter, you were wrong. That happened, but Raleigh’s Planning Department has persisted in recommending commercial rezoning for those parcels of land, in spite of the Council’s finding that that proposed rezoning was inconsistent with the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan, and not in the public interest. The City Council will vote on remapping 30 percent of the city on July 7,...

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Justice Clarence Thomas invokes slavery in dissent on gay marriage

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 1:17 PM

Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsU.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence ThomasU.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is notorious for his silence. For almost seven years, the conservative justice—an appointee of President George H.W. Bush—did not utter a word from the bench during oral arguments before the court. Thus, when we are treated to his opinions, they can be surprising and, sometimes, a little bizarre. Case in point: Today's landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the nation's highest court made gay marriage legal across the country. Thomas took the opportunity to compare the discussion to slavery. Here's the meat of...

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Raleigh landlord Bhola Gupta arrested for allegedly breaking into his own house, stealing tenants’ stuff

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 12:06 PM

On June 20, Raleigh landlord Bhola Gupta, 77, was arrested on a felony charge of breaking and entering a house he owns and rents on Curfman Avenue, according to police records. According to the complainant, Antonia Bell, and a police incident report obtained by the INDY Thursday afternoon, while he was inside her house Gupta stole a television, men’s shoes and hats, even dining room chairs and picture frames. It wasn’t the first time allegations like this have been lodged against Gupta, records show. On April 24, Annette Winston of Grissom Street alleged that Gupta, or someone operating under...

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Conservatives’ horrible, no good, very bad week—now with gay marriage!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 10:39 AM

This morning, as expected, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 majority that gay marriage was indeed a constitutional right, prompting what will surely be no small amount of teeth-gnashing by religious conservatives and old people, the last bastions of antigay resistance. Per the ruling, written by Justice Kennedy (via SCOTUSblog): "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. ... [The challengers] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." "Today's ruling granting loving, same-sex couples the freedom to...

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Hillsborough robber steals money, leaves note of apology

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 10:04 AM

A crook with a conscience? The Orange County Sheriff's Office reports this morning that a thief in Hillsborough broke into an unlocked car on the 1400 block of Ainsworth Boulevard yesterday. $283 in cash was missing. The thief left a note, evidently directed to law enforcement. “Sorry for stealing the money," it read, "but it would not have happened if they locked the doors.”...

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Will there be a downtown grocery store at 301 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 3:57 PM

John Kane, manager of Kane Realty Group, developer of North Hills, has set his sights (sites?) on downtown Raleigh. According to records obtained by the INDY this week from the City of Raleigh, Kane offered to purchase the city-owned land at 301 Hillsborough Street—a parking lot across the street from the Dawson Condominiums and Campbell University law school— for $3.1 million early last August. In the purchase agreement, Kane Realty says it intends to develop the site "with a full-service grocery store." "Once the purchase agreement is executed, the purchaser shall work in good faith to obtain approvals, commitments...

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From death science to life science: The Chesterfield Building in Durham

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM

 "Now ... Scientific Evidence on the Effects of Smoking!" a 1953 Chesterfield cigarette ad proclaimed, "no adverse on the nose, throat and sinuses" of Chesterfield smokers. Hey, the company, which made the coffin nails in a factory at Main and Duke streets in Durham, said nothing about their lungs. Now ... the former Chesterfield factory, which Liggett & Myers left in 2000, could become a hub for life sciences companies if the developer, Wexford Science + Technology receives $6 million in economic incentives to rehab the 284,000-square-foot building and erect a parking garage on nearby Gregson and Pettigrew streets, south of...

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Congrats, North Carolina poors: You can keep your health care, says Supreme Court

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 10:22 AM

So this week we told you about King v. Burwell, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that could have eliminated subsidies for those who accessed health care through the federal health care exchange, rather than state-level exchanges. In short, in North Carolina, that would have meant more than 450,000 would probably lose their health care, and the insurance market throughout the state would end up in a death spiral.  Well, breathe easy: In a 6-3 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority, the Supreme Court turned away conservatives’ claim that the text of the health...

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Duke Energy recommends clean-up for more coal ash sites across N.C.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 12:41 PM

On Tuesday morning, Duke Energy took the long-awaited step of recommending excavation of 12 additional coal ash basins at three unlined, leaking sites across North Carolina, in addition to the work it’s already doing to clean up six other sites. Duke Energy announced plans to clean up and potentially close five basins at the Cape Fear plant in Moncure, five basins at the H.F. Lee plant in Goldsboro and one basin at W.H. Weatherspoon in Lumberton, as well as one inactive basin at the Cliffside Steam Station in Mooresboro. Most of the coal ash will be relocated to the...

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Monday, June 22, 2015

"Good Samaritans" will not be punished for reporting underage drinking overdoses

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 5:16 PM

Amendments to North Carolina's Good Samaritan Law—S.L. 2015-94—have been enacted to offer protection for underage drinkers and their friends who call 911 to report alcohol poisoning. Beginning Aug. 1, the victim of alcohol poisoning as well as the 911 caller will be protected from underage drinking prosecution if they call for help. The Good Samaritan Law was established in 2013 to combat rising drug-overdose deaths. The amendments also ensure that people seeking help for a drug overdose will not be subject to arrest or revocation of conditions of probation or parole.  Also beginning Aug. 1, any person who calls 911 to...

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Durham data geeks just peed their pants

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Other than a fine bottle of Scotch, little else makes journalists salivate more than a database of all public school expenditures, crime reports and campaign finance documents. This is why journalists have no friends except other journalists. But we won't need friends ever again now that Open Durham, a data portal, launched today. The website includes 10 categories and 200 data sets in topics such as transportation, social services, government administration and finance, economic development, education, health, public safety, sports and leisure, civic planning and environment. I've only started digging in, but already am eyeing "subsidized housing. "amount of sulfur...

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Raleigh's Warehouse District: A tale of two Dillons

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 4:21 PM

Correction: The photo of the Charter Square building was incorrectly credited to Art Howard; it actually belongs to Raleigh news blog New Raleigh Yesterday, Raleigh real estate and development blog Capital Compass shared a rendering from Kane Realty of developer John Kane's vision for the Dillon Supply building and nearby parcels of land in downtown Raleigh's Warehouse District: Looks pretty snazzy, right? Today, Art Howard, a photographer and Warehouse District resident, sent the INDY another set of renderings of how the building could turn out, based on the conditions Kane has submitted to the City: They look...

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Guns don’t kill people. Racist pricks with easy access to guns kill people.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 4:15 PM

Yeah, I know. It is Too Early to “politicize” the latest in a way-too-long-and-growing list of mass shootings. It is Not The Right Time to talk about gun fetishization or systemic racism or any of the things that actually contributed to Dylann Storm Roof, an antisocial, pill-popping, maybe mentally ill, definitely disturbed 21-year-old with a Confederate flag license plate and a hard-on for apartheid South Africa, walking into a historic black church in Charleston, sitting through a prayer service for an hour, spewing some hate-filled bullshit and then murdering nine people with a gun he may have recently received...

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Tonight's review of gay children's book in Orange County Schools canceled

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Tonight's Orange County Schools review of the gay children's book "King & King" has been canceled after parents withdrew their district appeals complaining about the book. The parents' decision comes three days after third-grade teacher Omar Currie, who read the book in his classroom at Efland-Cheeks Elementary in late April, stepped down, along with the assistant principal, Meg Goodhand, who loaned him the book. Orange County Schools officials said the review of the book is now concluded. A committee at the school level has already voted twice to allow the book in the school, following three separate complaints from...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Raleigh activists discuss homelessness, food insecurity

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 11:11 AM

On Tuesday, the same day Raleigh’s much-awaited, $20 million affordable housing plan was unveiled, a panel of activists gathered at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center to discuss another set of intricately linked issues that the city faces: homelessness and food insecurity. Hosted by City Council member Bonner Gaylord, panelists discussed the root causes of homelessness and food insecurity—which is defined as being without reliable access to safe, nutritious, sufficient food in order to live a healthy life—as well as what Raleigh is doing to address these issues and what the city could be doing better. “A lot of it...

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chatham County makes deal with Duke Energy on coal ash

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 12:07 PM

Creative Commons LicenseWater contaminated with coal ash.Chatham County leaders have approved a pending deal with Duke Energy that would force the energy company to compensate the county for dumping its toxic coal ash in an abandoned Moncure brick mine. The deal, which was announced Tuesday, requires Duke to pay $18 million to the county, with the first $6 million payment coming within 10 days after the company dumps its first coal ash at the site. Chatham will use the funds to help monitor the site, county leaders said. The pact also caps the maximum amount dumped in Moncure at 12...

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State files appeal in case of Durham man who claims police entrapped him into drug sale

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 7:00 AM

The North Carolina Attorney General's Office has filed its appeal brief in the case of Milton Morgan, the Durham man convicted of drug-dealing after being targeted by a police informant—even though he was not a bona fide drug dealer. In April Morgan appealed his conviction from last year, arguing that the Durham police entrapped him into making a drug sale that he wouldn't have otherwise made. He claimed that his trial judge erred by declining to instruct the jury to consider an entrapment defense.  In its appeal brief filed last week, however, the state argued that the case was clean,...

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It's official: Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard is going on a road diet

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 6:59 AM

Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard is shrinking. Last night Durham City Council voted 7-0 to approve a plan to reduce the number of car lanes from five to three along the portion of the thoroughfare between Hardee's and James Street. There would also be new bike lanes and 21 on-street parking spaces. The re-striping will begin later this summer as part of the state department of transportation's repaving of the street. Look for a full story about the issue in tomorrow's INDY....

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