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Friday, July 31, 2015

Raleigh's Crabtree Jones House is finally under contract

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 3:23 PM

The Crabtree Jones House was built in 1809, for the prominent Wake County and state politician, Nathaniel "Crabtree" Jones, and the Jones family continued to live in the house until 1973, when it was sold off for development.  Formerly located on Wake Forest Road, the home was threatened with demolition in 2012. Preservation North Carolina acquired the Crabtree Jones House, and a plot of land on a Hillmer Drive hill near the North Hills shopping center, from an anonymous donor. The house was moved onto that property in Crabtree Heights in February of 2014; the Jones family cemetery is...

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One grumpy guy in Durham thinks ghost bikes are ugly, and now they've been removed

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 1:09 PM

While the state legislature and other pro-Confederate factions are passing laws and holding rallies to protect monuments to slavery,(Hillsborough, 2 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 8, boy howdy!) one cranky guy in Durham (shaking fist at the clouds) wants ghost bikes removed. Three ghost bikes in Durham commemorate the cyclists who died at those spots when they were hit by a car: Kent Winberry on Duke University and Chapel Hill roads, Seth Vidal on Hillandale Road and Joshua Johnson on University Drive. Last year Durham City Council passed a roadside memorials policy, which states an altar, ghost bike or other...

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

General Assembly ratifies bill to regulate cops' use of pole-mounted license-plate readers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 3:02 PM

The General Assembly today ratified a bill that would regulate law enforcement’s use of inconspicuous cameras that, unbeknownst to you, are taking pictures of your license plate on the roadways. Up to now, these “automatic license plate reader systems” have not been part of mainstream conversation; they’re a distinct entity from the cameras used on toll roads. But the Raleigh Police Department has been using the readers since 2010. Some are discretely affixed to street poles, while others are “mobile”—mounted to police cruisers. The authors of S.B. 182 were concerned that unmonitored use of the cameras invaded motorists’ privacy. “They...

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5 Takeaways from Raleigh’s Outdoor Drinking Debate

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 2:18 PM

On Tuesday, as Jane Porter ably reported via live blog, the Raleigh City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee (from here on out, LPS) took up the Private Use of Public Spaces ordinance, an issue we’ve written about on several occasions now. LPS did more or less what was expected: It adopted most of the noncontroversial points the city’s Hospitality Committee—a group of downtown stakeholders the city convened when this issue first hit the fan in early June—agreed upon during its last meeting, held last Thursday. On the two most controversial items—a) when the patios would have to close...

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Former NC Chief Justice Bev Lake subject of lengthy national profile

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Bev Lake, the former chief justice for the N.C. Supreme Court whose tenure led to massive criminal justice reforms across the state, was featured yesterday in a lengthy profile by the national criminal justice outlet The Marshall Project. The story cites an article we published last month, "Bill is dead that would have protected defendants from lying informants," which discussed a failed bill,  the I. Beverly Lake Fair Trial Act,  that would have placed increased scrutiny on jailhouse snitches prepared to testify in other people's cases. The bill was killed by House leadership after the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys...

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Live blogging Raleigh's Law and Public Safety Committee Meeting

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 2:57 PM

Welcome to the INDY's live blog of Raleigh's late July Law and Public Safety Committee. We'll be following the committee's discussion of the proposed outdoor drinking rules that a task force, composed of city staff, resident reps and bar and restaurant owners, have worked on for the past six weeks. There are more than 100 people here already; expect things to be fun. Bar/restaurant owners/patrons/fans are wearing blue. Committee members are May Ann Baldwin, Wayne Maiorano, John Odom. Assistant city manager Marchell Adams David and assistant city attorney Nicolette Fulton are on hand.  3:00 p.m.: Meeting's beginning. MAB says its nice...

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N.C. DOT Secretary Tony Tata resigns

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Prolific science fiction author and state Department of Transportation Secretary and fired Wake County schools superintendent Tony Tata is resigning from his position at the DOT, which he has held since January, 2013, according to Gov. Pat McCrory's office. Per a news release: Raleigh, N.C. — Governor Pat McCrory announced today that Tony Tata has resigned as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) to focus on personal and family matters in addition to pursuing his passion as an author. “Tony Tata has been a valuable partner in our efforts to reform and modernize North Carolina’s transportation...

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Thirteen percent of Raleigh city employees make less than $15/hour

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM

In last week’s dead-tree edition, I wrote about N.C. labor activists’ #wageweek campaign, an effort to pressure policymakers and businesses alike to boost paychecks for those at the bottommost rungs of the socioeconomic ladder to something approaching living wage, and praising companies that have done so on their own.  As it turns out, while the General Assembly proscribes cities from raising their minimum wages above the $7.25/hour federal rate or forcing their contractors to pay living wages, eight cities and counties around the state have taken the steps available to them: ensuring that all their employees earn a living...

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Women pose as nursing assistants to steal jewelry from Cary nursing home residents

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Two thieves posing as nursing assistants gained entry into a pair of Cary nursing homes earlier this month and stole jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars, Cary Police report. Surveillance cameras captured the women, wearing hospital scrubs, entering retirement homes and searching for unlocked doors to residential units. Residents who encountered the women described them as polite and friendly. The incidents occurred on July 4 at Waltonwood Cary Parkway, and July 11 at Searstone. Anyone with information on the suspects is encouraged to call the Cary police....

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Here’s what Raleigh’s outdoor drinking ordinance will (probably) look like

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Derrick Remer, the city of Raleigh’s emergency management and special events manager, had an idea of what this afternoon’s hospitality task force meeting was going to look like: Because the task force of downtown stakeholders—mainly small business owners and managers, with one resident representative—that he was helping facilitate had, after six weeks or so or these sessions, been unable to congeal around a single proposal to regulate outdoor drinking on public sidewalks in downtown Raleigh, it would be better to just go over four wide-ranging options, which would all then be presented to the City Council’s Law and Public...

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Live blogging the Durham City Council
work session today

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 1:09 PM

1:04 pm: There are several interesting items on today's agenda, but several of them will be taken up later in the meeting. It's standing room only. Stay tuned. We'll blog the following:  10. Durham Historic Preservation Annual report  32. GoDurham passenger survey 33. Proposed condo development at 400 Hunt St., near Durham Central Park 34. 2014 Traffic Stop Data Review 40. Affordable Housing Density and Parking Bonus And anything else that raises our eyebrows. 1:13: Councilman Don Moffitt: "Since Eugene Brown isn't running for re-election, it's my job to beat up on the legislature. In terms of...

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We know what you did this summer: N.C. lawmakers at ALEC convention

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 8:08 AM

The state does not have a budget yet, but at least nine North Carolina lawmakers are headed to gorgeous San Diego (today's forecast: 77 and sunny) for the annual convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council. This is the Koch-funded, über-powerful conservative group behind much of the nation's (and North Carolina's) regressive bills. House Speaker Tim Moore and Sen. Bob Rucho, reports WRAL, are headed to the convention. Once in the comfort of their hotel—the Manchester Grand Hyatt—without any pesky constituents around, corporate lobbyists and lawmakers hang out, conspire and then vote on boilerplate "model" legislation. You've seen ALEC's handiwork...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

N.C. Sen. Trudy Wade wants to limit state input in complying with federal clean power plan

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 3:58 PM

Eventually, North Carolina will have to comply with some version of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions rule, whether it likes or not (it does not). The rule, which is expected to be released during the first week of August, will be the first ever limit to carbon pollution by requiring states to comply with carbon emission standards, under the federal Clean Air Act. In North Carolina, the goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent. An April bill in the state House instructed the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Environmental...

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Here we go again: Another developer wants a piece of city-owned land near Durham Central Park

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 12:23 PM

First, it was 539 Foster, now another condo developer wants to chip away at public land in the Durham Central Park neighborhood. Raleigh-based developer Lambert Development Hunt Street, LLC,  plans to offer the City of Durham $150,000 for land at Roney and Hunt streets immediately west of Durham Central Park. City Council will discuss the issue at Thursday's work session, which begins at 1 p.m. The project, Parkside at Morris Ridge, will include 35 condominiums with underground parking. According to project documents, the Durham Central Park board voted in June 2014 to take no objection to the sale. Lambert wants...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Liveblogging the (rezoning) apocalypse: Raleigh UDO bitch session, take 2

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 6:33 PM

So I was going to live-blog this here rezoning apocalypse, except that there was no Wi-Fi in the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center, where the Council session was moved to accommodate the large, angry masses—probably 150 in Fletcher Hall, though I’m terrible at head counts. And then, just as I was getting going, my hotspot crapped out. Damn. Update: Got it back at 6:30, for reasons that I don’t entirely understand. Here’s last week’s liveblog. And here’s tonight’s play by play thus far:   6:11: First speaker up, whose name I didn’t catch: He’s an out and out Jesus...

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Why we're suing Governor McCrory and the State of North Carolina

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 1:45 PM

We tried shaming, cajoling, pleading, asking nicely, and it still took more than a year for Gov. Pat McCrory's office to provide his travel records, and even then they were redacted without explanation. There have been other incidents with state agencies as well, and now we're suing. File Stamped Complaint 15 CV 9591 The INDY has joined a coalition of other media outlets and nonprofits in suing Gov. Pat McCrory and the heads of several state agencies, alleging that they have violated the state's open records laws: John Skvarla, secretary of the Department of Commerce,  Donald Van der Vaart, secretary of...

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Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council live blog

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 1:08 PM

Welcome back to the INDY's City Council live blog. On the schedule today, we've got a realllly long consent agenda, the Dillon Supply Company rezoning, the Person Street Seventh Day Adventist Church rezoning, bids for the city-owned property at 301 Hillsborough Street and much, much more! And make sure you tune in this evening at 6 p.m. for the continuation of the city-wide remapping public hearing—the city-sponsored equivalent of playing "The Boys are Back in Town" on a bar jukebox 83  times—which my colleague Jeff Billman will bring to you, live, from the Fletcher Theater at the Duke Energy...

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Pro tip: To avoid leaving child in car, put important briefcase in backseat next to less-important kid

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:40 PM

"Busy parents have a lot on their minds," begins today's press release from the N.C. Department Public Safety, "so give yourself a reminder. Place your purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your child's car seat to help you remember to look in the back before leaving the car." That's what we've come to, folks, reminding parents that their children need their protection, that cars get hot in the summertime, and hey, not to tell you how to raise your kids or anything, but maybe you shouldn't leave your toddler in the back seat while...

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#BlackLivesMatter, Raleigh

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM

In Raleigh, many of us like to think we live a million miles away from the racial inequality that's led to violence in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Charleston, and even Durham and Chapel Hill. We're not racist here; our rebel-flag waving lesser-halves are confined to Johnston County, crawling out inevitably for a Kid Rock concert, or blowing into downtown for the weekend to destroy our sidewalks and parking decks. The cop killings, the riots, the hate crimes and the mass shootings of those other cities won't befall us, because we don't have those problems in Raleigh. Or they're not as...

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North Carolina tough on kids, rough on possums

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 11:35 AM

If the annual Kids Count report were a film, it would be rated R, for disturbing facts and images not suitable for children. Unfortunately some kids are living the movie. The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its Kids Count Data Book today, and while more children have health insurance (thanks Obamacare!), fewer are having children (thanks birth control!) and fewer are dropping out of high school (thanks again, early education and birth control!), 25 percent of them are broke. And their families are broke, and likely to get more broke, now that Republican lawmakers allowed the Earned Income Tax Credit...

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Debbie Downer jail statistic of the day

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 10:30 AM

This morning 549 people are waking up in the Durham County Jail, and about 90 percent of them—494—haven't been convicted of anything. Worse yet, of those 494, many of them are cooling their heels in a cage because they can't afford to post bond. Major Paul Martin of the Durham County Sheriff's Office threw out that troubling statistic last night at "Critical Community Conversations: The Police and Community Relations," moderated by Durham City Councilman Eddie Davis at the Holton Career & Resource Center. About 40 percent of those awaiting trial "could be released into the community without posing a threat," Martin...

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Family of Michael Anthony Kerr, inmate who died of dehydration, will receive $2.5 million in settlement

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 6:27 PM

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has agreed on a $2.5 million settlement with the family of Michael Anthony Kerr, a mentally ill inmate who died last year of dehydration while in state custody. Insurance will cover $1.5 million of the cost, a DPS spokesperson said today in a press release. We broke the story of Kerr one month after his death. He died of dehydration while being transferred from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh. Kerr, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder,  was held in solitary confinement for roughly a month beforehand, without being treated.  A...

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David Cox’s gas station vendetta

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 5:24 PM

This will not go over well with the Wake County Taxpayers' Association. North Raleigh resident and City Council District B candidate David Cox says provisions related to gas stations in a proposed text change to the city’s development code will harm neighborhoods. And the city should re-evaluate whether a new gas station is really needed on a given site by looking at traffic volumes, existing gas stations and “other measurable parameters,” because who disagrees that gas stations are super-ugly, loud and we don't need more of them? And they certainly don't promote walk-ability, which is what we all want now,...

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Cary ICE agents sued by U.S. citizen who says they put him in immigration custody for two years

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 4:14 PM

CORRECTION: A previous edition of this story cited Jay Weselmann, one of the defendants to the lawsuit, as the director of ICE's Durham Field Office who is responsible for all of North Carolina's ICE operations. While the lawsuit describes Weselmann in that language, Weselemann is actually the Durham field office director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, another branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Weselmann is not responsible for ICE operations. We regret the error. Federal law enforcement officials in Cary sent a man to prison for two years on immigration charges even though he was a U.S....

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Durham Ninja Warrior: Heart-stopping action
in City Council race

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 1:43 PM

While Durham's Next Top Model is selecting the next mayor, a new reality TV show Durham Ninja Warrior brings heart-racing competition to the 2015 City Council elections. Over the next two months, 10 candidates must navigate an obstacle course of exhausting meet-and-greets, (a lack of) money and (a lack of) name recognition, while avoiding political gaffes that could be captured on video by opposition research. Here are the 10 candidates, their very brief résumés and our suggested individualized obstacles. Three at-large seats are open; the top six vote-getters in the primary will compete in the general election. Charles Reece,...

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