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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Betty Lou Ward did not endorse Scott Lassiter for Apex Town Council, actually

Posted By on Sat, Oct 31, 2015 at 7:27 PM

Happy Halloween! The Apex Town Council race just got as interesting as the Apex Town Council race tends to get. Five candidates are running for two seats on the five-member+Mayor Council, including incumbents Scott Lassiter and Bill Jensen.  Lassiter, a lifelong Apex resident and Wake County Schools administrator, claimed the endorsement of highly regarded, long-serving Wake County Commissioner Betty Lou Ward in a mailer he sent out to constituents this week. But while Ward may have had some nice things to say to Lassiter in the past, those things didn't amount to an actual endorsement for reelection, as Lassiter has...

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Raleigh sixth most "future-ready" city, says American privately owned multinational computer technology company

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 1:54 PM

Raleigh loves landing on lists, and here’s the latest: it is the sixth most future-ready metropolitan area in the nation, according to a study commissioned by Dell and Intel that appeared in a New York Times paid post Friday. A future-ready economy, says Dell, is one that is “driven by innovation and technology,” consisting of three pillars: human capital (people with skills to drive change), commerce (sustainable businesses, an improving economy, collaborative partnerships) and infrastructure (supporting people, businesses and technology needed to drive growth and change). To study how future-ready a city is, Dell’s survey looked at three categories,...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kittens invade INDY Week's Raleigh office!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 4:55 PM

We had the best 15 minutes at the office *ever* today! It's National Cat Day, so to celebrate, ride-share service Uber teamed up with local animal shelters across the country to deliver kittens to hard-working professionals to play with, on-demand.  Here's Raleigh Uber employee Jason, and Darci from the Wake County SPCA, making a special delivery! Surprise! It's three kittens. The white kitten's name is Chardonnay. He loved playing with toys... And his friends were fun to cuddle with, although they didn't have names... These kitties were also avid INDY readers... And generally enjoyed...

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Chapel Hill polling shows the challengers taking over

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Chapelboro is reporting a major shift in the polling for this year's hotly-contested races in Chapel Hill. Read the Indy's endorsements for these races here.  Courtesy of Public Policy Polling, a new survey shows challenger Pam Hemminger has taken the lead over incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, with Hemminger leading 43 to 37 percent. Second challenger Gary Kahn has pulled in 2 percent.  In the Town Council contest, while the race remains nail-bitingly close, three of the four front-runners at this point are challengers, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town-endorsed candidates who have been critical of the direction of the...

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In North Carolina, nearly 51 percent of renters are cost-burdened

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Here’s yet more depressing news on the state of the state’s (and Raleigh’s) housing market: 50.8 percent of all North Carolina renters pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income towards housing, meaning they’re severely cost-burdened. Andrew Woo, a growth strategy manager at Apartmentlist.com, analyzed census data from 2007-2014, across all 50 states, 454 cities and 929 counties to determine whether or not renters were cost-burdened and whether that burden was moderate or severe. Raleigh has the most cost-burdened renters in North Carolina; in 2014, renters paid 53.1 percent of their monthly income towards housing. Compare that to...

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

David Price, congressional Democrats to call for restoration of federally funded gun-violence research

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 8:06 PM

Such is the stranglehold that the NRA has over Congress that not only can we not do anything about the rash of mass shootings we’ve seen this year—294 in the first 274 days of 2015, with some 380 dead—or the spiking gun violence plaguing major American cities, we can’t even do research on them.  In 1996, two years after Republicans had taken Congress in part by ominously warning people that President Clinton was coming for their guns, a congressman from Arkansas named Jay Dickey pushed through an amendment essentially forbidding any federal funds from going toward gun research, under...

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North Carolina's dark money trail goes national

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Whenever North Carolina politics winds up in the New York Times, it's a good thing, right? Ugh. Here's a fascinating read in the op-ed pages of today's Times. The piece, written by the Center for Responsive Politics' Robert Maguire, questions how the IRS will respond to a recent tax filing from Carolina Rising, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that is not supposed to spend a majority of their cash on political activity and aren't allowed to function to benefit one candidate or group. Carolina Rising, however, did spend $4.7 million on ads in 2014, the filing shows, most praising the...

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Monday, October 26, 2015

US Sen. Richard Burr endorses Eddie Woodhouse in Raleigh City Council election

Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 3:11 PM

Well, thank goodness. Voters in Raleigh’s District A can rest easy now that US Sen. Richard Burr (you know, the one from North Carolina that’s not Thom Tillis) has endorsed in the upcoming runoff election for City Council. Burr is not from Raleigh, nor does he live in Raleigh, but he thinks Eddie Woodhouse is the best candidate for the City Council gig; could it be because Woodhouse is a Republican just like Burr? No, this election is non-partisan. “Eddie has a long career in public service,” Burr says. “He is dedicated to using his experience to help...

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Judge denies North Carolina's motion to dismiss the case against voter ID

Posted By on Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM

A pivotal legal challenge to North Carolina's much-criticized Voter ID law has cleared its last hurdle for trial. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder on Friday denied the state's motion to dismiss the case, which has been led by civil rights activists such as the N.C. NAACP and the Advancement Project, a coalition of civil rights attorneys. The ruling was not unexpected. It follows a similar decision made in a separate claim against the law last month.  The groups are arguing in court that the 2013 voter reforms will have the effect of reducing minority voting when it goes...

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Students respond to Margaret Spellings named as new UNC system President

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Students have largely been overlooked during the UNC Board of Governors’ search for a new system President, and, turns out, they’re just as unhappy with the Board’s choice of Margaret Spellings as the rest of us are. President George W. Bush’s former Secretary of Education has a disappointing resume, as a group of “concerned students and community members from across North Carolina” pointed out in a letter. The letter says Spellings “prioritizes profit over student education,” and that her homophobic views “are inconsistent with creating campus culture that serves everyone.” Spellings, now the president of the George W. Bush...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

U.S. District Court rejects Duke Energy's motion to dismiss a pending coal ash case

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 1:07 PM

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, formerly the DENR, may have settled their legal battle with Duke Energy over coal ash contamination—to quite a bit of consternation, might I add—but the fight goes on with citizen groups.   Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs issued a key ruling in one citizen case against the billion-dollar energy company, ruling against the company's motion to dismiss environmentalists' claims that Duke violated federal water protection laws.  The case stems from alleged contamination at the company's Buck facility located on the Yadkin River in Rowan County. The Yadkin Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance...

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chapel Hill cops will now give you “good tickets” for obeying the law. (Chapel Hill maybe has too many cops?)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 3:20 PM

In a quintessentially Chapel Hill thing to do, the town has announced that its police officers will give people “good tickets”—read: coupons—for doing good things. What sort of good things? Over to you, Daily Tar Heel: “It’s a good opportunity to thank those for following the law,” Chapel Hill Police Lt. Celisa Lehew said. Lehew said good tickets are exactly what they sound like: a reward for residents who obey the law. Pedestrians using crosswalk signals, bicyclists following roadway signs and drivers obeying motor vehicle laws would all qualify for good tickets. The tickets would include a coupon and brief information...

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Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council live blog

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 1:05 PM

There's a lot on the agenda today, folks. Downtown parking is probably the biggest item. Will the City Council go with a recommendation to charge a $5 flat fee Thursday/Friday nights, all day Saturday and for special events on Sunday in eight downtown parking decks? Not if the business community can help it.  Also up: Larry Jarvis' 2016-2020 affordable housing plan, also being recommended for adoption by Council. Plus a pilot program for musician loading zones at downtown's live music venues, review of research on the city's flag, a hotel feasibility study, some rezoning cases and more.  1:06: John Odom...

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For magistrate recusal, abortion waiting times and the death penalty, the ACLU flunks the N.C. General Assembly in session report card

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 12:52 PM

It's been a few weeks since the N.C. General Assembly cobbled together a budget compromise and finally adjourned 2015's marathon session. Enough time for the ACLU of N.C. to assemble its session report card, released today, which pans state lawmakers for their adoption of handful of hotly-contested bills this year. That includes Senate Bill 2, which allowed magistrates to opt out of performing marriages after same-sex marriage was legalized this year. And then there's House Bill 774, which gave state officials the power to hide the source of execution drugs and remove the requirement that a doctor be present...

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Sierra Club endorses the incumbents in Chapel Hill, plus Michael Parker

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Here's a key, late-breaking endorsement from last week in Chapel Hill's oh-so-contested race for the Town Council and the mayor's spot. The Sierra Club of N.C. is siding mostly with the incumbents—Lee Storrow, Donna Bell and Jim Ward—in addition to town Planning Commission member Michael Parker, in the race for four seats on the Town Council. Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt also picked up the group's endorsement in this fall's race against former county commissioner and school board member Pam Hemminger. The Indy's endorsements will be released this Wednesday, one day before one-stop and early voting begins.  According to the...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hillsborough moves to acquire the foundering Colonial Inn

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 1:34 PM

After more than a decade of wrangling over Hillsborough's dilapidated Colonial Inn, town officials have moved this week to begin the process of acquiring the West King Street historic structure through the process of eminent domain.  The Town Board of Commissioners voted Monday to start the process, which could eventually end with the town paying the inn's owner, Francis Henry, "just compensation" for the structure. Since 2002, when Henry purchased the 176-year-old inn, the town and the local businessman have been bickering off and on. Indeed, Hillsborough has sued the former UNC soccer star twice over allegations that he...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Environment N.C. report to slam Duke Energy on solar power

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

To quote the Friends theme, Duke Energy, "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year." Sorry, the entire show's on Netflix these days. Environment N.C., an environmental advocacy nonprofit, says it will release a report Thursday detailing the national "network of billionaires, utilities and fossil fuel front groups" fighting solar energy growth in North Carolina.  "It's important for the public to understand the aggressiveness with which they are lobbying all across the country, not just in North Carolina," Environment N.C.'s Rachel Morales, clean energy organizer for the group, told the Indy Tuesday. Duke Energy—which...

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Raleigh one of nation's most affordable cities, say people who've never tried to buy a house here

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 1:02 PM

We're not sure how far OTB consumer advocacy website NerdWallet had to go to find a 3,163-square-foot house in Raleigh for $351,588—Fuquay? Garner? Johnston County?— but apparently the City of Oaks is the nation's ninth most affordable large metro in the country, according to this list.  "Unlike other analyses that simply measure income against home prices and basic recurring costs, NerdWallet's report takes more comprehensive, real-world factors into account," wrote Sara Collins, a Senior Communications Analyst for the company in an email to the INDY. "We analyzed metrics like taxes, debt and savings to determine how large of a...

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn calls Indy profile on him a "great work of fiction."

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:20 PM

I don't normally do this (I know, great way to begin any conversation), but I felt compelled.  On Oct. 3, Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn stated in the N&O that our September profile on the candidate, in which he used the words "ching, ching, ching" to describe the sound of Asians speaking, was a "great work of fiction." Kahn was being questioned about this statement:  “I was walking around one day, and I realized that no one around me was speaking English. They were all Asians. I heard nothing but ‘ching, ching, ching,’ not a word of English.”...

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Was Renee Ellmers sleeping with Kevin McCarthy?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 3:21 PM

North Carolina’s family values Republicans have really been crushing it in Congress recently. First, Mark Meadows ignored multiple complaints of his chief of staff sexually harassing women subordinates. And now married-to-someone-else Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is—allegedly—sexing Kevin McCarthy (also married to someone else.)  We don’t want to get sued, or receive cease and desist letters from Ellmers’ lawyers, so we’ll emphasize that there is a RUMOR going around that Congresswoman Ellmers and Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy— the presumed successor to House Speaker John Boehner, until he announced Thursday that he wouldn’t run—have been having an affair since...

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Environmental group calls for N.C. Attorney General to investigate Duke Energy

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 3:17 PM

N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, better known as WARN, is taking aim at Duke Energy again. On Wednesday, the nonprofit said its attorney filed a complaint with Attorney General Roy Cooper's office asking Cooper to "assert his explicit legal authority" in an investigation of the billion-dollar utility. WARN said the investigation should determine whether Duke's corporate charter in North Carolina should be revoked "due to its history of criminality." WARN is a longtime critic of Duke. The group has been calling for the company to phase out its use of fossil fuels for years, but has intensified its...

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Campaign spending on the rise in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 1:30 PM

If it feels like this year's municipal election in Chapel Hill has been far more contentious, you're not imagining things.  According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed for town races, this year's crowded roster of hopefuls has already outspent candidates in the 2011 municipal election. Since that year also included a mayoral contest on the ballot with four seats up for grabs on the Town Council, it's a relatively fair comparison.  Total spending reported in that election for the Town Council and mayor was about $31,417. This year's crop, including the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable...

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

INDY Week Live blog: Evening edition

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 7:02 PM

Welcome back! We've got a full agenda this evening and a full house in Council chambers.  7:02: Mayor Nancy has called the meeting to order and we're starting off with a Historic Landmark Designation. It's the Crabtree Jones House and it will now be called the Nathaniel Crabtree Jones house. It was moved form its original location to its current one, in Crabtree Heights. It's really old (1809) and as we reported it has a new owner. 7:05: Council approves. Hope everything goes this fast. 7:06: Requests and petitions. 3 minutes people, Mayor Nancy has a timer now. Lillian Thompson...

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Welcome to the INDY's first Raleigh City Council liveblog of fall!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 1:00 PM

It's been a while since we've all gathered in City Council chambers! Since then, we've been drinking pumpkin beers not on sidewalks, wondering what happened to the sun for three weeks and participating in Democracy. Yep, we just  had an election, and now we're back with a lame duck Council and three Council members who only have three months left to serve. But a lot can happen in three months. What will become of the outdoor drinking ordinance? Councilors will have to decide soon. And will they vote on the UDO before the new Council members take their seats? We...

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Election Day in Raleigh

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 7:42 PM

So, Mayor Nancy has officially been elected to her third term as Mayor of Raleigh, beating out challenger Robert "Dr. Bob" Weltzin, with 75 percent of the vote. Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson will keep their at-large seats, with 31.1 and 30.3 percent of the votes respectively. They beat newcomer Matt Tomasulo (he got 24.4 percent of the vote) and seasoned challenger Craig Ralph (he got 13.9 percent of the vote). It looks like there will be a runoff election in District A, between candidates Dickie Thompson (the Mayor's preference) and Edwin "Eddie" Woodhouse who are separated by about...

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