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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Spacecraft, Hurricanes, and Tim Kaine

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Good morning, it's Friday. 1. ESA's Rosetta hits comet, signal lost forever. From NPR: The historic spacecraft has transformed scientists' understanding of comets over the past two years, as it orbited the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and sent a stream of images and data back to Earth. Now it has lost contact with Earth forever. The historic spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency ended its mission by streaming data back to Earth as it free-fell toward the bumpy surface of the comet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reported yesterday, the crash won't have destroyed the spacecraft — it was traveling at about...

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pharmaceutical Company Pulls Incentive Agreement with Durham, Will Still Build $31 Million Facility

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM

The generic drugmaker Aurobindo Pharma U.S.A. Inc. will not longer be pursuing $200,000 in incentives through the city of Durham. The city was alerted to the agreement termination in a letter from the company on September 6. The city council was told today in an email from city manager Tom Bonfield.  The letter, from Ninad Deshpanday, the North Carolina president of research and development for Aurobindo, says the company still plans to "hire and invest" in Durham, but "some of the compliance requirements related to the agreement are not able to be met by us from a practicality standpoint or...

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Durham County Could Be Next to Offer $15 Minimum Wage

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 2:30 PM

In June, the Durham City Council approved a plan to have all full-time city employees make a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2019. Now the Durham County Board of Commissioners looks poised to follow suit.  On October 4, during the board's work session, a resolution amending the county's minimum wage will be presented to the board. The $15-an-hour wage would apply to all "full and part-time employees of the County, including seasonal and employees in the job placement program with the County.”  The $15 figure is determined by a "Minimum Living Wage" equation—which places the wage at least 7.5 percent...

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Party Barn Appeal Will Be Heard in Mid-October

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 12:47 PM

The saga of the "party barn" arrives at another pivotal moment next month.  The Orange County Board of Adjustment has set October 10 as the date to hear an appeal from the neighbors of Kara and Chris Brewer. The Brewers, under an LLC known as Southeast Property Group, are in the midst of constructing a forty-two-hundred-square-foot barn/events space on twenty-two acres of property they purchased in Bingham Township last year.  Neighbors—concerned about an intrusion of traffic, parking, and noise in their serene section of the county—have filed an appeal of the Orange County planning department's decision to issue the Brewers...

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The Morning Roundup: In Need of a New AR-15? Grass Roots North Carolina Can Help

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Y'all, it's almost October, which means you can basically start getting your pumpkins ready for carving and all of your Halloween decorations out. But before then, uh, we've got some news to rundown for you.  1) In the market for a new AR-15, 1,000 rounds of ammo, and a Hillary Clinton portrait? Grass Roots North Carolina has a raffle just for you!  OK, we'll give you a second to unpack that. But yes, GRNC has a raffle going on right now where the winner will receive an AR-15, ammo, and a Hillary Clinton portrait.  As reported by WRAL:  'Of course,...

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Neighbors Complain After "Party Houses" Start Up, Again

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Another school year means another spate of residents complaining about college students gettin' rowdy in their neighborhoods. Yep, that's right. College students are partying in the Durham neighborhoods surrounding our universities.  It's nothing new, by any means, but we can't help but just shake our heads at some of the latest rounds of complaints—mainly because if the emails are correct, it's just absurd to think that college students are willingly living with eleven people in a house.  Let's take a recent complaint from the 800 block of Onslow Street, which was emailed to the Durham City Council: Also, I was...

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South Durham Continued to See Growth in 2015. Northern Durham, Not So Much.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:15 PM

The maps presented to the Durham County Board of Commissioners on Monday illustrated a point that many in Durham had an inkling about—development south of Interstate 85 in Durham continues to boom, while development north of I-85 is lagging behind.  The Durham City-County Planning Department, as part of its annual report to the county commissioners, on Monday showed maps of rezoning and land-use plan changes throughout the year. The red dots tell the tale. In 2014 and 2015, the changes focused in the southern portion of the county. Commissioner Wendy Jacobs says seeing where the zoning and plan amendment changes are...

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Wake County Sheriff: Parents Should Be Notified When a Transgender Student Uses the Bathroom, Like Head Lice

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:13 PM

Earlier today, we published a piece about Donnie Harrison calling us about a public records request we made, asking for his emails regarding the debate over HB 2 and his threat to pull his school resource officers from Wake County Public Schools if WCPSS doesn't develop a system-wide policy for transgender students. We received that public records request back today. According to Wake County legal advisor Paul Gessner, the county’s search only turned up one email, sent in response to a message submitted through the sheriff's office email contact form. That September 24 email, from a Melvin Bright, mentions N.C....

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The Morning Roundup: A Federal Indictment, a New HB 2 Travel Ban, and a Mystery Lottery Ticket

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 8:08 AM

Good morning, everyone. Your news:  1. Federal grand jury charges N.C. state senator with money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud. A total of fourteen counts—five for mail fraud, three for wire fraud, six for money laundering—were handed down against Fletcher Hartsell yesterday. From the News & Observer:  The indictment alleges that Hartsell engaged in a scheme to solicit and obtain campaign money from 2007 through 2015 that he spent on personal items and services and then concealing his actions by filing knowingly false campaign finance reports. The indictment alleges he spent campaign money on a trip to Charleston, S.C., with...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chapel Hill Town Council Member Donna Bell Dinged by State Board of Elections

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 1:02 PM

The Committee to Elect Donna Bell does not appear to be an especially scrupulous operation.  The Chapel Hill Town Council member's reelection campaign has been fined $500—the maximum amount allowable for a municipal race, per state law—by the State Board of Elections for submitting its 2015 year-end campaign finance report six weeks late. Despite the penalty being assessed two months ago, Bell has yet to pay it, according to Amy Strange, deputy director for campaign finance and operations at the SBOE. Bell's year-end report also, as the Chapel Hill Herald noted several months ago, shows several checks from developers—over $10,000 in...

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Clinton Rallies In Raleigh the Day After the Debate (Liveblog)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 12:10 PM

Good afternoon, we're at Wake Tech and will be live-blogging this. 12:08 - Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane is the first speaker, and she just choked up talking about what an important moment it is for her daughters and granddaughters. "Last night, she showed the world what it means to be presidential." 12:11 - McFarlane offering a full-throated endorsement of Clinton right now. She endorsed her earlier this morning. "We need a president that will build bridges, not walls."  12:14 - An HFA field organizer in Southeast Raleigh is speaking now. "Wake County is not only the tipping point for North Carolina,...

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Who Wants to be the Next Durham School Board Member? One of These Eleven People

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 10:45 AM

With the resignation of Sendolo Diaminah in August the Durham Public Schools Board of Education must fill a vacant position, and there's no lack of interest with thirteen applicants vying for the spots. However, two of the applicants—Florida DeVaul Dudley an Shonda Wilson—were removed from consideration because they do no live within District 2.  Diaminah resigned after his attendance at meetings was called into question (he'd reportedly missed at least nine out of sixteen meetings). Now, the board is charged with appointing someone by October 24—sixty days after Diaminah resigned.  The eleven candidates include two familiar faces—Frederick Davis, who Diaminah was...

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The Morning Roundup: Debate Goes Clinton's Way ... Big Time

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 9:01 AM

Good morning everyone. So, I had this weird dream that there was a presidential debate last night, but that one of the candidates for the most important job in the world just sniffled a lot and answered every question with bizarre rants and lies instead of, you know, plans. Weird. What? That actually happened? God help us. Let's get going. 1) Round One: Hillary Well, I mean, what can you say about what unfolded at Hofstra last night? The first presidential debate was epic—and by epic, we, of course, mean it was a shit show, as Donald Trump, a.k.a. "Sniffles"...

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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Clinton-Trump Round One

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Good morning, here's what you missed over the weekend. 1. What the hell is going on in Charlotte? Charlotte has had a pretty rough week. After Charlotte police shot and killed Keith Scott on Tuesday, seemingly for having a blunt and a gun in an open carry state, a shooting at the protest on Wednesday night eventually claimed the life of 26-year old Justin Carr. Thursday night's protests, which we covered, were peaceful - and the protests throughout the weekend were peaceful as well. On the city of Charlotte's end, however, this weekend was nothing short of a disaster. After...

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Good News, Bull City Stoners: The Durham City Council Moves Toward Marijuana Deprioritization

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:27 PM

On Thursday afternoon, during its work session, the Durham City Council unanimously voted to allow the city manager to work with the Durham Police Department to figure out how to have the department issue citations and warnings for low-level marijuana offenses instead of arresting individuals.  The directive came after Randy Chambers, the president of Self-Help Credit Union; David Hall, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice; and resident Andrea Hudson of SpiritHouse came to the council to once again advocate for deprioritizing low-level marijuana enforcement.  Chambers told the council that, after looking at data on marijuana arrests...

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In Chapel Hill’s Ephesus-Fordham District, No Tools to Fight Bad Developments

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Two years ago, the part of Chapel Hill where Eastgate Crossing and Village Plaza and Ram’s Plaza collide (home to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Food Lion, and dozens of restaurants and shops) was cobbled together into a designated zoning district called Ephesus-Fordham and singled out for an experimental—to Chapel Hill—approach to development known as form-based code. The hope was that this new approach would streamline what had long been an excruciating review process for new projects in Chapel Hill. Today, Chapel Hill is so chockablock with hulking new apartment developments (with somewhere in the neighborhood of six thousand new apartment units...

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The Morning Roundup: Protests, Floods, and Gas Gouging

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 8:22 AM

It's Friday. News for you:  1. Charlotte. We've got a guy on the ground there. Everything you want to know about yesterday's protests can be found here.  2. State of emergency declared for flooded N.C. counties. The counties of Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank and Perquimans are flooding like hell due to Tropical Storm Julia last week. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in these eleven counties yesterday. From WNCN: The storm dumped several inches of rain on Eastern North Carolina with officials saying Arrowhead Beach and Corapeake communities received more than 10 inches...

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Liveblog: Third Night of Protests In Charlotte

Posted By , and on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 8:33 PM

Good evening. INDY Raleigh bureau chief Ken Fine is in Charlotte covering Thursday night's protests after the killing of Keith Scott, and we'll be bringing you updates as they come in. First, to get you up to speed: The man who was shot in last night's protests has died. His name was Justin Carr. The family of Keith Scott has viewed the video; they say it raises "more questions than answers." Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Kerr Putney doesn't think it's necessary to release the video of the fatal shooting. N.C. Congressman Robert Pittenger said that the protesters "hate white people because white people are...

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N.C. Central Students Peacefully Rally After Keith Scott Shooting

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 6:28 PM

The rain didn't stop them. Nothing could have stopped them. They've seen too much, been through too much. They wanted a change.  "They" being students and community members who gathered at N.C. Central University on Wednesday night. The crowd of about 175 packed under a shelter at the Greek Bowl, just outside of the James E. Shepard Memorial Library on campus. Before the rally started, faint sounds of a marching band could be heard in the background. The horns mixed with the light drizzle. Once the band finished, the campus was silent, except for the voices echoing in the...

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Congressional Black Caucus Asks Department of Justice to Investigate Police Shootings: ‘The Killing of Unarmed Black Men and Women By Police Is a Crisis’

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 5:13 PM

The Congressional Black Caucus, headed up by Democratic congressman G.K. Butterfield (who represents Durham), has sent Attorney General Loretta Lynch a letter urging her to "aggressively pursue investigations, indictments, and prosecutions, through the Office of Civil Rights, against any and all law enforcement officers who harm or kill innocent, unarmed Black men, women, and children." The letter comes in the wake of the killings of Keith Scott in Charlotte and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was indicted for Crutcher's murder on Thursday afternoon. "There must be a national standard regarding the use of lethal force,"...

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The Morning Roundup: Protests in Charlotte Continue, One Protester Shot

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Top of the morning to y'all. If you haven't been up all night watching the news pour in, here's a primer for what has been happening over the past twenty-four hours.  1) The death of Keith Lamont Scott, after being shot by police in Charlotte, sparked new protests and demonstrations in Charlotte and in Durham. One man was shot during protests in Charlotte and was in critical condition. Gov. Pat McCrory also declared a State of Emergency.  From The Charlotte Observer:  The shooting was “civilian on civilian,” the city tweeted. “@CMPD did not fire shot.” Moments earlier, police fired tear gas...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Light Rail, Bull City Connector to Take Center Stage at Durham Council Work Session Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 3:00 PM

The Durham City Council is set to hear a trio of items during its Thursday work session concerning transportation and road-related matters.  On Monday, GoTriangle announced it was looking at possibly extended the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit line to N.C. Central University. There is no cost estimate available for the 0.6-mile addition, but we do know that GoTriangle estimates it could be the most-used stop on the line. GoTriangle is asking the city council to amend the "locally preferred alternative" (essentially the DOLRT route) to included a station adjacent to NCCU and then amend the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan to...

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Poll: N.C. Trump Voters Like Former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke More Than Hillary Clinton, Definitely Not Deplorable

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 11:13 AM

Uh, OK. So. Public Policy Polling released its monthly North Carolina poll today and, for the most part, found some stuff consistent with what we already knew: the presidential race is basically tied (Trump is up by two in a three-way with Gary Johnson, within the margin of error, and tied in a two-way), Roy Cooper is up five in the governor's race, Josh Stein is up four over Buck Newton in the AG race, and Deborah Ross and Richard Burr are deadlocked in the Senate race. Then there’s this. -By a 30/23 spread, Trump voters in North Carolina say...

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The Morning Roundup: Another Black Man Killed by Police in North Carolina

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 7:55 AM

It's Wednesday. Your daily news:  1. Things are not good in Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police yesterday shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott. From WBTV:  The shooting happened around 4 p.m. at The Village at College Downs apartment complex on the 9600 block of Old Concord Road. Officers said they were searching for a person with an outstanding warrant when they saw a man get out of a vehicle with a firearm. When the man, later identified as 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, got back into the vehicle, the officers approached. The report states Scott then got back out of the vehicle...

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Hillsborough Tonight

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Up in North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmentalist groups continue to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, which seeks to carry as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa before connecting with an existing pipeline in Illinois. This path darts across ancestral Native American land and under the Missouri River. Opposition to the pipeline scored a victory last week, when the federal government temporarily halted construction of the 1,134-mile project.  As protesters hold their ground and brace for the next steps, organizers across the country...

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