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Monday, November 30, 2015

Religious extremists from North and South Carolina more dangerous than refugees, says Slate

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Here in the Carolinas, we’ve been doing a lot of hand-wringing over terrorism and the remote possibility that Syrian refugees are coming to the U.S. to commit terrorist acts. And we should be concerned about terrorism, but not in relation to Syrian refugees; we have our own, home-grown crop of extremists, people who will, with regularity and all over the country, commit mass murder in the name of Christianity or some far-right cause, as Will Saletan points out over at Slate. In the latest such incident, Robert Lewis Dear—an art dealer with ties to both North and South Carolina,...

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North Carolina charter school, following complaints over LGBTQ club, to consider school club policy today

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:29 PM

It should be noted anti-LGBTQ activists have tried this before. It doesn't work. A group of parents who fear the consequences of allowing gay-friendly clubs in their schools have called on the leaders of a western North Carolina charter school, Lake Lure Classical Academy, to shut down a support club for LGBTQ students.  This month, following complaints from some in the Rutherford County town of Lake Lure, leaders at the public charter temporarily suspended all clubs while they considered their options, The Daily Courier in nearby Forest City reported. Today, members of the school's board of directors will hold...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Durham beginning search for the next police chief

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:59 AM

The search for Durham's newest police chief will soon be underway. The city announced Tuesday that it has selected a Durham firm, Development Associates LLC, to lead the search process for outgoing Chief Jose Lopez's replacement. By the city's timetable, national and regional recruitment will stretch into January, with the first candidate recommendations coming late in the month.  Interviews will be held in March and City Manager Tom Bonfield says he hopes to offer the job by early April. The new chief, presumably, would start in May.  Meanwhile, Lopez, whose office has been dogged by charges of racial profiling,...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

North Carolina’s newest anti-immigrant law could harm more than 170,000 children

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:57 PM

We knew the so-called Protect North Carolina Workers Act, signed by the governor last month, would be bad for immigrants. It could be bad for U.S. citizens too—specifically, children. Research from children and families advocacy groups NC Child and First Focus estimates that the new law could harm more than 170,000 U.S. citizen children from mixed-status families living in North Carolina, by threatening their access to education and other critical services. According to the Migration Policy Institute, North Carolina is currently home to 750,000 immigrants, including nearly 350,000 undocumented immigrants. The law prohibits immigrants from using consular documents (like the Mexican-government issued matriculas) as...

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Durham Police Department hands out tickets for "good" behavior

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:28 PM

After a really dismal couple of years, brimming with allegations of racial profiling, controversial shootings and a police chief being forced out, it seems the Durham Police Department is looking to put out a few good vibes for the moment.  Per Durham Magazine, we learned that city police officers were handing out tickets for "good" behavior on Thursday, in an operation at the pedestrian crosswalk at Geer and Foster streets.  If you were spotted using the crosswalk properly, officers would hand out a coupon for a free cup of coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon.  Kammie Michael, spokeswoman for the Durham Police...

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Five questions with Raleigh-based artist Dalek

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 4:58 PM

You may have seen the bright mural that’s popped up on the Bruegger’s Bagels building in Raleigh’s Ridgewood shopping center recently. It’s the work of the artist Dalek, who’s made his home here in Raleigh after stints living in Chicago and New York City. Raleigh was recently identified by American Express and the national “Shop Small” movement as having one of the top markets in the nation for consumers who shop at local, independently owned stores—as well as who eat and drink at small, local businesses—and will be highlighted on Nov. 28 with pop-up events for “Small Business...

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Report touts benefits for workers and the economy in raising wages for public employees

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 12:54 PM

When Orange County builder Mark Marcoplos told me earlier this month that it's time for a living wage debate, he was on to something.  Orange County's Living Wage Campaign hit the ground running this month, enlisting more than 30 local businesses to agree upfront to pay their employees a "living wage," or about $12.75 per hour in Orange County. Earlier this year, Durham launched its own campaign, guaranteeing workers hourly pay of at least $12.53. And this week, Wake County commissioners agreed to raise the minimum wage for all county workers to a solid $13.50 an hour.  Fittingly, on...

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"It happens there, it happens here": The demands of UNC's student protesters

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 9:25 AM

No one—including UNC’s chancellor and the evening’s moderator—was terribly surprised by the early interruption of Thursday night’s “Town Hall on Race and Inclusion” at UNC by a group of protesters. They had invited the media the night before.  But what may have surprised and even dismayed many was the protesters’ persistence. It began with around 65 marching UNC students, almost all of them black, announcing their arrival to Memorial Hall from about a block away on Cameron Avenue. “We ready! We coming!” they chanted until they got to the entrance, as a drummer pounded away. Once inside, they gathered near...

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blue Cross, Bank of America shine in HRC's LGBT workplace equality scores

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Remarkably, someone, somewhere, has something nice to say about Duke Energy.  The Human Rights Campaign released its annual Corporate Equality Index today, the leading scorecard for gauging employer protections for LGBT workers. And while it offers a limited snapshot of how North Carolina companies and law firms are performing—just 16 North Carolina entities are included, likely because they did not respond to HRC requests or they were not large enough to be rated—there do appear to be some positive signs.  Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and a handful of other state businesses—Delhaize America Inc., which...

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rockingham, Lee counties move toward fracking moratoriums

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 4:15 PM

How political winds change. Five years ago, hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, was a godsend in recession-ravaged locales like Lee County. Yet on Monday, one election and a tidal wave of bad publicity later, two counties in the heart of North Carolina's prospective drilling basins are moving to at least temporarily ban drilling within their borders. WFMY is reporting in Rockingham County, part of the Dan River Basin, that county commissioners unanimously approved a two-year fracking moratorium Monday. And in Lee County, a potential hotbed for drilling south of the Triangle in the Deep River Basin, commissioners took...

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Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council live blog

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 1:07 PM

Well, the big news happened yesterday—that is, the Raleigh City Council voted to adopt the UDO citywide remapping, much to the chagrin of many North Raleigh residents who are already sending angry emails about the 'Publix' site being rezoned to allow 30,000 square feet of retail.  Residents thought they were going to be allowed to speak at yesterday's meeting, they thought there would be some discussion of the eight options the Council had to choose from for the site, they thought the Council wouldn't possibly vote to rezone the land at Dunn and Falls of Neuse to allow...

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Wake County leaders vote to pay all county workers a living wage

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 11:37 AM

As expected, Wake County’s seven-member board of commissioners voted unanimously Monday to raise pay for all county workers to a minimum of $13.50 per hour, establishing a minimum annual salary of $28,080 per year. 75 county employees will see a pay increase, beginning next month, and it will cost the county $93,000 a year to implement the living wage. The vote followed a press conference Monday morning, where Commissioner Matt Calabria, who has led work on the ordinance that would institute a living wage, said Wake County would be at the very top of North Carolina counties in terms...

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Raleigh’s City Council adopted the UDO Remapping

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 6:22 PM

Parcels of land in downtown Raleigh will be up-zoned to max out the building heights that will be allowed. North Raleigh residents can expect 30,000 square feet of retail space at the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads, and all the traffic and noise that comes with it.  It’s been six long years in the making, but few people—excluding a handful of developers, some Council members and probably the city Planning Department—are likely happy that Raleigh’s City Council adopted the UDO remapping today, to become effective Valentine’s Day, 2016. Many are asking why the Council couldn’t have...

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Friday, November 13, 2015

The state of North Carolina finally sold those six historic Oakwood homes

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 4:38 PM

Back in July, North Carolina’s state property office announced that it was finally selling six long-neglected, historic homes on Person Street, all of which are in or near Raleigh's Oakwood historic district. Longtime Oakwood resident and neighborhood expert Matthew Brown learned last week that the offer he made on the 3,500-square-foot, Queen Anne’s style Lamar house, at 401 North Person Street, was accepted by the state—following a minor bidding war. According to agent Joy Wayman who works at the State Property Office, offers have been accepted on four of the other homes as well; a fifth is under negotiation....

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Lee County may vote next week to impose a temporary ban on fracking

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:59 PM

The backlash against North Carolina's fracking prospects continues, and in the state's hottest drilling destination, no less.  Commissioners in Lee County—where drilling leasing has already begun—may vote as soon as next week on a controversial, two-year moratorium on fracking, following up on neighboring Chatham County's vote to do the same in August.  Fracking permitting "without thorough study would be premature and could result in standards that are inadequate to regulate or mitigate the local impacts," the board's draft resolution reads. Support for drilling in these counties has eroded in recent years as stories spread of widespread environmental impacts in...

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Judge promises ruling by Thanksgiving in Hallie Turner's case against North Carolina

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:19 PM

Hallie Turner sounds tired. Oral arguments are finished in the 13-year-old Raleigh girl's climate change case against North Carolina, and Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan is promising a ruling by Thanksgiving. But Turner seems disappointed that she didn't get a chance to speak during Friday's hearing, even though the judge did acknowledge that he admired Turner for her resolve in pursuing this case. "It's nice to know that my voice was heard, no matter how this turns out," she says. Turner is hoping the judge will force North Carolina to take action on climate change. The teen called on the...

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A 13-year-old takes North Carolina to court over climate change

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 1:19 PM

Here's the newest tactic in approaching errant policymakers: Use very, very smart children to shame them publicly. This Friday in the Wake County Courthouse, oral arguments are scheduled to begin in a lawsuit brought by a 13-year-old from Raleigh named Hallie Turner, a climate change activist since the fourth grade. The teen is asking the state to issue an edict that would require North Carolina to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 4 percent each year. It's an idea that has never caught on with industry leaders or, for that matter, legislators in Raleigh. Here's Hallie's story,...

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

North Carolina’s law banning registered sex offenders from social media is “bad law, bad policy,” according to ACLU

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 4:49 PM

On Friday, North Carolina’s state Supreme Court ruled that banning registered sex offenders from social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter is constitutional, reversing an earlier decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In 2008, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a package of laws supported by Attorney General Roy Cooper barring registered sex offenders from using social media networks. The laws also included sentencing for “pornographers and child predators who use Internet websites to target victims,” according to a statement from Cooper's office. In 2012, Lester Gerard Packingham, a registered sex offender from Durham, successfully challenged the...

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Orange County's 2016 race for the Board of Commissioners is off to a fast start

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 11:12 AM

And away we go.  The race for four seats on the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2016 is off to a speedy start. Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier announced last week that she won't be seeking re-election next year after seven years on the board.  And now, Mark Marcoplos, a local builder who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the board last year, has announced that he will be running for the county commission's at-large seat, which will be vacated by Pelissier. Meanwhile, Matt Hughes, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, has stated that he is considering a run in 2016...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Less than a year in, the Durham Co-op Market stirs up controversy

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM

It didn't take long for the Durham Co-op Market to find itself some controversy.  About seven months after opening, members of the market's board of directors will consider a vote Sunday to nix the worker-owner shares currently allowed in the co-op's bylaws. Modeled after Orange County's Weaver Street Market, the bylaws grant workers the ability to purchase a separate class of worker shares in the business, which would allow employees who buy in to leverage about 10 percent ownership of the business. The model also guarantees worker representation on the board. The proposed revision would allow workers to purchase...

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pelissier bowing out of a re-election campaign in 2016

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Because the 2015 municipal elections wrapped on Tuesday, it's time to start talking about 2016.  Orange County Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier wasted no time, announcing Thursday that she would not be seeking re-election next year.  "Many of you know that I have been a long-time advocate for agriculture, farmers, and local food," Pelissier wrote in an email to reporters Thursday morning. "Little did I know how my life would change when my husband and I bought a farm in Cedar Grove last year. This has given me the opportunity to become a farmer and join in with my children in this effort. Having just turned...

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Surprise! Durham elections turned out exactly like you thought they would

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 11:11 AM

Yesterday’s Durham City Council election played out pretty much as expected, with the three candidates who easily led the October primary—Steve Schewel, Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece (all candidates the INDY endorsed)—easily winning the at-large Council slots on the November ballot, pulling 28, 23 and 15 percent of ballots, respectively. Same goes with the mayor’s race: Bill Bell crushed it, defeating challenger James Lyons with 87 percent of the vote on his way to what is expected to be his eighth and final term.  So what does this mean for the Bull City? Business as usual, for the most part...

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Dickie Thompson wins Raleigh City Council District A seat

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 10:33 AM

No surprise here: Dickie Thompson—Democrat, RDU Airport Authority chair, and the Mayor's personal choice for Raleigh's District A—beat Eddie Woodhouse for the seat in a runoff election last night, winning 58 percent of the vote to Woodhouse's 42 percent. This means there won't be a single Republican on the Council for the first time since the early 90's. It also means Mayor Nancy McFarlane now has five allies in Council seats. In the Apex Town Council race, incumbent Scott Lassiter—who claimed a phony endorsement from Wake Count Commissioner Betty Lou Ward, in a mailer—lost his seat to incumbent Bill Jensen...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In Chapel Hill, a big night for the challengers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 9:51 PM

A bitterly contested race for the mayor's seat and the Town Council in Chapel Hill, as well as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, came to a bitterly close ending Tuesday night. After a campaign marked by a clamor of anti-incumbent fervor, much of it drummed up with a strong push by the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) political action committee, it was the challengers who won the night in all three elections. Pam Hemminger, a former Orange County commissioner and school board member, defeated incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt in the race for mayor, picking up...

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Hillsborough voters side with the status quo

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 8:48 PM

By some people's reckoning, this race in Hillsborough was about the decaying Colonial Inn and the fate of the "Confederate memorial" lettering on the town's former whites-only library. Others say it was about whether you support Hillsborough's current track or you don't. Either way, the status quo is celebrating tonight in Hillsborough. Incumbent town commissioners Brian Lowen and Evelyn Lloyd, as well as Mark Bell, a candidate closely aligned with the incumbents, won a resounding victory Tuesday night. With three seats up for grabs, longtime commissioner Lloyd led all candidates with 29 percent of the vote, followed by Lowen at...

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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
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innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

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