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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Canopener Bridge claims victim No. 103, displays awesome artifact of destruction

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 4:27 PM

OK, now let's all say it together, folks: "Overheight when flashing." Words of wisdom, for the wise. This cell phone pic from your humble blogger doesn't do it justice, but this was the scene at the 11-foot-8 "Canopener Bridge" at Durham's Brightleaf Square at 2:52 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2016. As you can sort-of see, the top of somebody's truck was perfectly sheared off by the notoriously low railroad overpass. A crumpled sliding door may also be hanging up there, along with what looks like a bumper, in two precariously positioned pieces.  Duke systems analyst Jürgen Henn, who created 11foot8.com...

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Friday, January 29, 2016

A brief chat with Union County sheriff candidate Brian Crump, who may have written a very racist thing on Facebook two years ago

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Outside of Charlotte, in Union County, there's a guy named Brian Crump running for sheriff. Here's the website for his campaign. It does not contain any overtly racist language, but Crump's Facebook history tells a different story.  Per the Twitter account of Shaun King, at 1:57 a.m. on March 19, 2014, Crump made the following post on a gun website:  Whoa! That is pretty much the most racist thing a person can say!  Crump also owns Crump Investigations, a private investigations company based in Charlotte. We called him at his office to see what he had to say...

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NC Supremes rule for McCrory over GOP legislators in Coal Ash Commission spat

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 2:51 PM

On Friday, the NC Supreme Court decided for the governor in a more-than-yearlong battle over who gets to pick the commission to oversee McCrory's former employer of 29 years, Duke Energy. From The News & Observer: The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday that legislators overstepped their authority in 2014 when they created a Coal Ash Commission and others like it to carry out functions of the executive branch. The ruling comes slightly more than a year after Gov. Pat McCrory and several former governors sued N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, as well as appointed...

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North Carolina no longer least unionized state in the nation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Remember when North Carolina held the dubious distinction of being the least unionized state in the nation? Well, those days are over, as new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that that mantle has fallen to our neighbor to the south, South Carolina. In South Carolina, only 2.1 percent of all employed people are members of a union, and only 2.9 percent of all workers are represented by a union. In North Carolina, those proportions are 3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, making us the second least-unionized state in the country. The national average is 11.1...

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The Morning Roundup: Ted Cruz hates Trump, Tim Moore hates teachers, the economy hates us all

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Happy Friday! So who won last night’s Republican debate? The guy who didn’t show? Or maybe one of the losers on the undercard? Or maybe moderator Megyn Kelly, who really rode this “Donald is afraid of me” thing for all it was worth? Or was it, you know, Hillary Clinton, who looks better and better the longer the Republicans’ once-vaunted “deep bench” is out on display.  Or did Trump’s absence merely show that, minus his pomposity and bellicosity, this collection of vacuous “thinkers” and wannabe populists is not only terrifying, but also boring?  Hmmm. Here’s some video of Ted Cruz...

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Fundraising, school choosing and Raleigh outdoor dining

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 8:53 AM

Good morning, folks, we corralled your headlines so you're ready to crush Thursday.  1. Low performing schools could be given one of three horrible options. Yesterday, Rep. Rob Bryan, R-Mecklenburg, presented a bill to to a special committee of lawmakers that would create a statewide district, called the Achievement School District, under which the State Board of Education hires a superintendent to select five continually struggling North Carolina schools. The schools, or their local school boards that govern them, are given three choices once selected: they can close, they can replace the principal with a new one or they can...

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday: A community discussion at ArtsCenter about poverty and homelessness

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 10:46 AM

Carrboro organizers of much-needed community discussion tonight about poverty and homelessness will elevate future conversations about plans to expand services in the area. "A Conversation on Poverty, Homelessness, Hunger in Carrboro/Chapel Hill" starts at 7 p.m. at The ArtsCenter, 300 E. Main St. According to a Facebook announcement for the event: "The goal of this conversation is to create greater community engagement in these vital issues. Alleviating chronic hunger and homelessness should be a community wide effort." In this week's issue, the INDY looks at misgivings and misunderstandings in neighborhoods around Homestead Park that ultimately put a cap on emergency...

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The Morning Roundup: New luxury condos, new jobs numbers and something called Creedbombing

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 8:30 AM

A good Wednesday to you, dear reader. We have compiled some information that may prove helpful to you as you embark upon your day.  1. Scott Stapp is on board with Panthers' "Creedbombing." Ridiculing Creed frontman Scott Stapp was once so easy and enjoyable. The voice. The subliminal Christian messages. The butt-rock aesthetic. But his public meltdown in 2014 has taken almost all the fun out of it. Until now? Last week, the Charlotte Observer published a short Carolina Panthers locker-room story about "Creedbombing," an inside joke dreamed up by Panthers backup linebacker Ben Jacobs. Among its revelations:  Taken...

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell tells North Carolina residents to get covered

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 1:15 PM

Were you planning on signing up for health care coverage this year through North Carolina’s health insurance marketplace? If so, you’d better do it soon—enrollment ends on Sunday. According to recent estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina ranks third in total number of enrollments for health insurance, with more than 500,000 people signed up as of Jan. 16. But more than 126,000 people in the Raleigh-Durham area still need coverage. And if you can afford to pay for health insurance but don’t sign up, the penalty this year is pretty hefty: $695 or 2.5...

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The (Belated) Morning Roundup: Wisconsin prof calls BS on NC Voter ID law; NC gets warm and wet; and the Panthers get can't no respect

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Good morning, everyone. It's still a little slick on some roads, so please be careful out there. Let’s look at today’s headlines:  1. It’s just not politically scientific:  Political science professor Barry Burden from the University of Wisconsin testified Monday as a witness for voters and organizations challenging the state's voter ID law. Burden said that if legislators were truly worried about voter fraud, they should have focused elsewhere: Burden, on the stand for about two hours on the first day of a trial expected to last through the week, said he thought the elections law overhaul in 2013 and amended in 2015 would place a greater burden on black and Latino voters than whites...

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Interesting morning in Chapel Hill! Four arrested in protest of Margaret Spellings

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Margaret Spellings doesn't even start as UNC system president until March, but calls for her head continue apace.  Why all the Spellings hate?  "Faculty are dissatisfied with the current state at UNC and have no confidence that Spellings will move the system in the right direction,” says Zach Robinson, a faculty member at East Carolina University and a member of the Faculty Forward Network. “Her past actions have shown that she does not have the leadership to lead a world class public system facing a diverse student body, decreased funding and skyrocketing tuition." Spellings' past actions include serving as secretary of...

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Durham County Department of Public Health will investigate death of 29-year-old inmate

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Last Tuesday, Matthew LaMont McCain, a 29-year-old inmate in the Durham County Detention Facility, died in his cell. The Durham County Sheriff's Office reported that a member of the detention staff found McCain "unresponsive and immediately performed life-saving measures. The detention staff and medical personnel performed CPR until EMS arrived. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Mr. McCain and he was pronounced dead at the detention facility." The Durham advocacy group Inside-Outside Alliance, a vocal critic of the jail's policies, has suggested on its site that McCain's death was the result of medical neglect. The group is in frequent communication with inmates.  Today, the Durham County...

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The Morning Roundup: The Panthers keep pounding, the snow keeps melting, and the state keeps trying to make it harder to vote

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 8:14 AM

Good morning, everyone. Hope you made it survived the winter storm intact. Let’s jump right into today’s headlines:  1. Voter ID heads back to court. The General Assembly’s not-at-all cynical effort to make it harder for, um, some people to vote heads back before a judge in a trial starting this morning. The wrinkle is that, while the 2013 law was and remains among the most restrictive in the nation, last year, to get around this very lawsuit, the Legislature amended the law to allow people without ID to vote if they could prove they had a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining...

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kevin Griffin, everyman: The Durham businessman’s case to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate

Posted By on Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 12:53 PM

Politicians love to say they’ll fight for you. Kevin Griffin makes no such pledge. “That is such an overused and useless statement,” he says. “It means nothing.” The Durham businessman is fighting to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, though. Earlier this month, he launched an attack in The News & Observer on presumed frontrunner and former state Rep. Deborah Ross’ record as the head of the state ACLU, arguing that her opposition to the creation of a sex-offender registry and placing the Ten Commandments in classrooms would hurt her chances in November. In an interview with the INDY...

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

N.C. Senator Richard Burr says he would vote for Bernie Sanders over Ted Cruz, denies it

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 5:13 PM

The left dislikes Ted Cruz for obvious reasons. His extreme right-wing views on literally every major issue are diametrically opposed to traditional liberal values.  But Republicans also hate Cruz. Or, to be more specific, Republicans who have had to interact with Cruz in Congress hate him.  North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is one of those guys. The AP published a story today on Republican senators confronting the possibility that their "least-favorite colleague" could become their party's nominee for president. Among other things, it reports that Burr, a Republican, recently "told supporters at a campaign fundraiser for his own re-election that...

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BREAKING: National Republican Senatorial Committee researches Deborah Ross, uncovers the biggest liberal EVER

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Well, of course. Thursday's news that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee picked Deborah Ross as the favorite primary candidate for the U.S. Senate prompted the NSRC to crack the whip on interns to get the real scoop on Ross.  Guess what they found? Wait for it... DEBORAH ROSS IS THE MOST LIBERAL NC DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE IN HISSSSS-TOREE-REE-REE-REE-ree-ree-ree.... Scary, huh? And if you think we're joking, that comes from a citation in a Thursday news release, helpfully provided by the NRSC: After being turned down by not one, but two potential recruits, the DSCC announced today that they’re giving up...

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The Ongoing Chronicles of Kay Daly: A would-be congressman, who is a woman

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 2:44 PM

In today’s installment of questionable things said by Kay Daly, per her campaign Facebook page: “If elected, I will be one of only two females in Congress who refers to herself as CongressMAN.” Kay Daly links to a story about the U.S. Navy changing its lexicon to be more gender-inclusive, since, according to the article, “women are doing nearly every job in the military,” just like women are doing nearly every other job that exists in the world as well. Kay Daly hates political correctness and she hates women doing things, and she promises that if she is elected to...

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McCrory: 'State of emergency' for winter storm

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory announced a state of emergency Thursday, ahead of N.C.’s first major winter storm. The storm is predicted to take full effect from Friday through Saturday, with major cloud buildup occurring late Thursday. “Our goal is to be overprepared, and, hopefully, underwhelmed” McCrory said. Forecasters warn of severe ice buildup that could result in downed tree limbs, as well as power outages and dangerous roadways. So far there have already been two storm-related fatalities reported, in Stokes and Forsyth counties. “As we’ve already seen, these conditions can be treacherous,” said Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank L....

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UNC Board of Governors postpones meeting, thus delaying protest against them

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 12:38 PM

The UNC Board of Governors' Friday meeting at NC A&T State University in Greensboro has been postponed due to forecasts of severe inclement weather. Bad weather may have been the mildest of inconveniences faced by board members. It would have been the last scheduled meeting before system president-elect Margaret Spellings takes office on March 1.  Students, faculty, and concerned citizens were ready, once again, to protest Spellings’ appointment. A new Faculty Forward Network survey of 1,400 UNC faculty members shows that many are unhappy about the direction of higher education in North Carolina, and feel that UNC doesn't do enough to support increased public...

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DSCC picks Ross against Burr

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 9:37 AM

One week after Democratic primary opponents thought it was a good idea to bash Deborah Ross for her past work for the ACLU, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is stepping in to steer wavering campaign donors her way. Fellow Democratic candidates Kevin Griffin, a Durham businessman, and Chris Rey, Spring Lake's mayor, told The News & Observer that Ross, a former state representative for Districts 38 and 34, was an "unelectable" target for "Republican attack," as the former state director for the ACLU. That association apparently doesn't bother DSCC Chair and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana (who gets an...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Apex, the peak of good living, has a pretty goddamn great idea here

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 5:14 PM

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Orange County has one of these, too. Whether you're in the market for a vintage Eames chair or a crate of black-market Chinese pharmaceuticals, Craigslist's got you covered. The only problem is the often-uncomfortable exchange between buyer and seller, which typically takes place at the seller's home. No matter how normal and nice the seller seems, there's always a chance your head's going to end up in a jar in the refrigerator.  UNTIL NOW. Or, sort of, at least, in Apex, North Carolina. As of today, the Apex Police Department has established a designated spot in its parking lot where...

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PPP: Trump is yooooooooge in NC

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 4:32 PM

North Carolina Republicans love Donald Trump. They love him! And it's not just the Donald saying it this time. Rather, it's respondents to the latest Public Policy Polling survey of 433 Republican primary voters on Jan. 18 and 19.  From PPP: North Carolina was the first place polling ever found Donald Trump leading the Republican Presidential race, and he just keeps getting stronger. PPP's newest poll finds him at 38% to 16% for Ted Cruz, 11% for Marco Rubio, 8% for Ben Carson, 6% each for Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, 4% for Chris Christie, 3% each for Carly Fiorina...

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Duane Hall wants to keep Big Brother out of students’ Internet accounts

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Although the Internet is at the center of national political debates about civil liberties, it seems as though authorities at every level, from school administrators through the federal government to countries across the globe, have only done more and more to crack down on them in recent years, often in the name of national security or protecting kids from predators. On Wednesday, N.C. Rep. Duane Hall, D-Raleigh, and other legislators across the country announced an effort to reverse that trend and extend online privacy protections to students. Hall’s legislation would prevent North Carolina students (in both public and private schools)...

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Trophy Brewing muralist Kevin Lyon's monsters adorn Vans sneakers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 1:14 PM

Renowned graphic artist Kevin Lyons' army of monsters has held the east wall of the Trophy Brewing building captive for a little more than a month now. The mural was a joint venture between Lyons, truth (to keep teens from smoking) and Vans, the venerable skateboarding shoe and clothing brand.  Since street art is by nature ephemeral, who knows how long we'll have to enjoy Lyons' monsters—and their "messages of empowerment from teens encouraging others to join the fight to finish teen smoking," in the words of a truth spokesperson—here in Raleigh. But today, Vans has released a limited-edition sneaker...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Welcome to our Raleigh City Council live blog

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:59 PM

  Happy Tuesday, everyone! It's cold and there are rumors of snow in the forecast, so enjoy this bit of civic engagement before the whole city shuts down—or maybe we'll be spared, who knows. Lots of fun on the agenda today, including a revisit to the dangerous dog ordinance, which is designed to make penalties on owners of dogs who attack people more stringent—will the council vote on it this time??—and a presentation on the Wake County transit plan. There's also a rezoning case on Spring Forest Road and Atlantic Avenue. And more. Always more. The consent agenda is...

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