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Monday, July 31, 2017

Durham Cops Close Down Mangum Street After Shooting Near City Hall

Posted By and on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Durham police have closed down a section of Mangum Street near City Hall Plaza following a drive-by shooting at about nine this morning. WRAL has reported that a suspect is on the loose, though the Durham Police Department declined to confirm that information to the INDY. WRAL reports that there was one victim, though neither that person nor his or her status has been identified. WNCN reports that there is a gray sedan with at least seven bullet holes in it near the intersection of Trinity Avenue and North Duke Street. A Durham detective who arrived at the scene shortly after...

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Latest Probe Brings Total of Missing Money to $900,000 at Wake Register of Deeds Office

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 3:27 PM

A new internal audit of the Wake County Register of Deeds office shows that more than $289,000 went missing there in 2014, bringing the total of money unaccounted for in the office to more than $900,000 during a three-year period. The latest chapter in the story of the troubled office, from which Register of Deeds Laura Riddick retired in March, shows that more than $1,000 a day went missing on more than 200 days in 2014, with the largest single daily amount $5,384.45 on the May 9 work day. County manager Jim Hartmann's office made the new audit available Friday as a public document...

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Durham Will Have to Wait Another Week for Sunday Morning Drinks

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Sorry, Durham, but you'll have to wait a little longer to imbibe at brunch on Sunday mornings. Durham restaurants and residents had been calling on the Durham City Council to pass an ordinance allowing alcohol sales to start at ten a.m. on Sundays, but at its Thursday work session, the council declined to suspend its normal rules of procedure and vote on the measure. Instead, the council will wait until its August 7 regular meeting. Among other provisions, Senate Bill 155 (aka the brunch bill) allowed Sunday morning alcohol sales but said local governments would have to pass ordinances to...

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Judges, Plaintiffs Frustrated with GOP Delays in Redrawing Gerrymandered Districts

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 9:29 AM

U.S. District Court Judge James Wynn scolded state legislative attorneys at a hearing in Greensboro Thursday, saying that weighing the costs and benefits of redistricting should no longer be their concern. Now was the time to act, and they needed to stop dragging their feet. “We want the legislature to do its job,” he said. “We are in the remedy phase now.” Wynn is a member of the three-judge panel that found twenty-eight state House and Senate districts racially gerrymandered last year and instructed lawmakers to redraw the unconstitutional maps and to hold special elections. In June, the U.S. Supreme...

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Moore Square Renovation Moves Forward; Apparent Low Bid Awaits Council Approval

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Work on the Moore Square renovation could get underway in late October now that Raleigh parks staff have chosen a Sanford company, American South General Contractors, as the apparent low bidder at $14.279 million. With a contract guarantee of thirteen months from the date the city sends its "notice to proceed" to the company, the often-moved completion date becomes November 2018, parks planners said. The Raleigh City Council has final say over the bid and will likely consider awarding the contract at an August meeting, parks staff say. "At the latest we will bring the bid award to the...

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Bills in North Carolina, Congress Target Companies That Boycott Israel

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 7:57 AM

North Carolina senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have cosponsored a bill that could impose stiff criminal and civil penalties for engaging in a boycott of Israel or its occupied territories. A similar—albeit less draconian—state bill, passed in the General Assembly in June, currently sits on Governor Cooper’s desk. These bills target the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to stop companies and individuals from supporting businesses that work in Israeli settlements. Modeled after the anti-apartheid movement, BDS began in 2005 to put pressure on Israel to end policies like its occupation of Palestinian territories, which is considered...

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Should Wake County Spend Up to $20 Million to Convert a Failed Fuquay-Varina Golf Course into a Park?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 7:26 AM

Wake County leaders are at odds over whether it’s a good deal for taxpayers to make a county park out of the failed Crooked Creek Golf Course in Fuquay-Varina. Proponents of converting the former course in booming south Wake feel so strongly that commissioners have received pro-park emails from as many as a thousand people. That’s more than the number who wrote in at the height of the recent school funding debate, commissioners say. The Board of Commissioners is set to hash out the matter at an August 14 work session. Depending on whom you ask, buying the golf course...

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today in N.C. Gerrymandering: Redistricting Panel Convenes, GOP Leaders Confirm They Will Use Notorious Consultant

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 6:35 PM

Unless you’re a political junkie, the expression “joint committee meeting on redistricting” probably doesn't get your blood pumping. But if you care about voting rights, gerrymandering, and the makeup of the General Assembly, pay attention, because the outcome of that committee could have major implications for more than two dozen legislative districts in North Carolina—and even has the potential to undo the GOP's veto-proof supermajority. First, context. The committee meeting this afternoon came out of a June Supreme Court decision, in which the high court upheld a lower federal court's decision that twenty-eight state legislative districts in North Carolina were...

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tillis, Burr Vote Yes on Motion To Debate Health Care Bill Despite Having Absolutely No Idea What It Contains

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 4:34 PM

It's the bill that just won't die. After the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare seemed doomed to failure just last week, Senate Republicans narrowly voted this afternoon to begin debating a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite having no replacement in sight. Vice President Pence broke a 50–50 tie, after two Republican defections. Senator John McCain of Arizona, who was just diagnosed with brain cancer, returned to the Capitol to vote to proceed a bill that could leave tens of millions of people without health insurance over the next decade. As of now, it's unclear...

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Durham's Municipal Candidates

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 3:28 PM

There seems to be a palpable sense among candidates that this fall’s municipal elections in Durham have the potential to be a pivotal point in this growing city’s trajectory. Equity, managing growth and giving a voice to the voiceless are common refrains. There is the opportunity to change the fabric of Durham’s leadership. One of it’s longest serving members, Mayor Bill Bell, is not seeking another term after sixteen years as the face of this city. The other, Cora Cole-McFadden, who was first elected to the council in 2001, is running for re-election to her Ward 1 seat against three...

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In “Resistance to Political Repression,” Local Activist Katie Yow Will Refuse Grand Jury Order

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 3:26 PM

Katie Yow doesn't know why she has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury next week. But she has no doubts about refusing the order, although it could land her in jail. "I have been an anarchist for nearly half my life. My convictions as an anarchist inform every part of my life, and being part of the anarchist movement gives me all the strength I need to resist this subpoena," says Yow, an activist and former teacher and bookstore proprietor. Yow, in a statement, says she received the subpoena July 10, ordering her to appear before a...

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Monday, July 24, 2017

N.C. Congressman Mark Meadows Wants to Gut the Congressional Budget Office

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 7:07 PM

U.S. Representative Mark Meadows, chair of the Freedom Caucus and representative of North Carolina's Eleventh Congressional District, wants to make big changes to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office—the federal agency that has consistently projected that Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave more than twenty million Americans in the cold. In an amendment introduced Monday, Meadows proposes slashing eighty-nine positions from the agency's Budget Analysis Division, which is responsible for estimating the costs associated with bills introduced in Congress. The elimination of those positions would result in a $15 million funding cut and would effectively abolish the division....

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Baldwin Bows Out of Raleigh At-large Race; All Council Candidates Have Opposition

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 2:27 PM

Mary-Ann Baldwin took herself out of competition for her Raleigh City Council at-large seat Friday, saying it's time for her to move on and make room for a new generation of leaders. Baldwin, 60, cited at-large candidates Stacy Miller III and Nicole Stewart of examples of strong, younger candidates. "As Democrats, I really believe that we do a terrible job of cultivating our next generation of leadership," Baldwin said, adding that she was sad about leaving her post on the council. Baldwin said she will continue as executive director of the Holt Brothers Foundation, as well as serving on the...

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Durham Elections: Who's Running for What

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 1:21 PM

It's official. The filing period for Durham's mayoral elections has closed and each race has some formidable contenders. There are three City Council seats up for election this year as well as the seat of Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who is not seeking re-election after sixteen years at the city's helm. A primary election will be held for each race on October 10 to narrow down the field for the November 7 general election.  Here are the candidates, with links to their campaign pages (if we missed one, let us know). Mayor - Farad Ali - Pierce Freelon - Steve...

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

At-Large Candidates Abound as Filing for Raleigh City Elections Nears an End

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 5:25 PM

The crowd of candidates for Raleigh City Council's two at-large seats grew to eight Thursday, even as the hours remaining in the filing period dwindled down to a precious few. Filing ends at one p.m. Friday for candidates in the October 10 election, held at a time when residents are generally happy living in Raleigh but worry about traffic and growth, according to a recent poll. The number of Raleigh mayoral candidates held steady Thursday at two: incumbent Nancy McFarlane and banker-lawyer Charles Francis. In the Raleigh at-large council race, candidates who have filed in the past couple of days...

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Triangle Refugee Resettlement Agencies Prepare for a Tough Road Ahead After Yesterday's Supreme Court Decision

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made yet another consequential decision on President Trump’s refugee and immigrant travel ban. The ruling consisted of two parts. It said that travelers from six Muslim-majority countries who have family members here must be allowed to enter the country, but it also allowed the Trump administration to enforce tighter restrictions on refugees. It's not immediately clear how the decision will affect the Triangle’s refugee resettlement programs. But local agencies are already bracing for a tough road ahead. “There is so much change even on a day-to-day basis that it has become very difficult for us...

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Hundreds of North Carolina FC Fans Gather at City Market to Support the Team’s MLS Bid

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Yesterday evening, hundreds of Oak City soccer fans flooded downtown Raleigh in support of the North Carolina Football Club’s January bid for a Major League Soccer franchise. The night began around four thirty with a march from London Bridge Pub and ended with a rally in City Market, sponsored by Lonerider, which gave out free beer . The rally, held in conjunction with a visit from MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, was part of an effort to make Raleigh stand out among the dozen other cities across the nation—including Charlotte—vying for a MLS franchise. North Carolina FC...

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parks Guru: Ideas for Dix Should Arise on Site, Not Be Manufactured in Traditional Political Settings

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 3:50 PM

Raleigh's plan for Dix Park should be conceived right there among its more than three hundred rolling acres, with diverse groups of people trying out diverse sorts of activities. That was the word from a veteran parks and communities expert who talked to a crowd at the City of Raleigh Museum Wednesday. A visionary plan that contributes to an "inclusionary, participatory democracy" can't be crafted in a traditional public hearing with politically experienced people presenting mainstream ideas to an accommodating staff, said Mickey L. Fearn, a professor of the practice at N.C. State's College of Natural Resources and a former deputy...

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North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 1:09 PM

At a press conference and in a press release this morning, North Carolina FC—formerly the Carolina Railhawks—announced that, as part of their bid to join Major League Soccer, they had partnered with megadeveloper John Kane (think North Hills, Warehouse District) to plot out this rendering of a mixed-use stadium, which they’d like to place on a thirteen-acre parcel on the north end of downtown Raleigh. The parcel is state-owned, underdeveloped, and would, according to a Facebook post from Wake County Commissioner John Burns, go about where the outline is below. From the press conference, while it’s still early days, it...

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Farmworkers Blast Governor Cooper for Signing a Bill They Say Hurts Their Ability to Unionize

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Farmworkers were joined by other activists outside Raleigh’s Capitol building Tuesday to denounce a bill that they say threatens their ability to organize. Senate Bill 615, signed by Governor Cooper last Wednesday, makes it illegal for farmers to deduct voluntary union dues from their workers’ paychecks and also prohibits workers from reaching a legal settlement as part of a union agreement. Justin Flores, vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, says it’s a shameful attack on the union’s ability to raise funds and hobbles a proven strategy for farmworkers who are already earning very little in reaching agreements...

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Durham's First Sustainability Report Finds Residential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Down 7 Percent

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Among the highlights of the city of Durham's first-ever sustainability report: residential greenhouse gas emissions are down 7 percent since 2008, despite population growth, and Durham residents are using 23 percent less water than the average North Carolinian. The report looks at the city's waste management, energy efficiency, transportation system and green infrastructure, and some future sustainability projects. ”In addition to shedding light on Durham’s recent accomplishments, the information will help inform a comprehensive Sustainability Plan,” says city sustainability specialist Erin Victor. “By reflecting on our progress, we can identify new opportunities to make Durham an even more resilient and...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 10:05 PM

As Triangle commuters Tuesday night heard radio news updates about a failed Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, protesters high above Interstate 40 made clear their continued opposition to the effort. Near Southpoint mall, where the American Tobacco Trail passes over I-40, about forty protesters brandished signs reading "Sink Trumpcare" and "Health Care 4 All."  The demonstration is one of eleven scheduled this week by groups around the state to protest the healthcare plan considered by the Senate, which a recent Public Policy Polling survey found just 20 percent of voters support. The GOP's pledge to replace...

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Wake School Board Ponders New Talks With Commissioners Over Funding

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 8:03 PM

Presented with the kinds of cuts Wake County schools face in the new budget year, school board members said Tuesday it was time to sit down with their counterparts on the county commission to once again present the system's “acute needs.” In a school board afternoon work session, financial officer Mark Winters presented a pared-down budget that still showed a roughly $13 million shortfall. The Board of Commissioners, which doles out a portion of county funding to the schools, refused the schools' request for $45 million in new funding this spring, instead offering $16 million in new money along with...

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Trump More Corrupt Than Nixon, and Health Care Is a Disaster for the GOP, PPP Survey Finds

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 2:37 PM

It's been another blockbuster week for the GOP. After spending seven years slandering Barack Obama's signature health care law and pledging to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, Republicans woke up this morning to a harsh reality. Their signature promise to replace Obamacare failed abysmally, after four Senate Republicans defected—some because it was too draconian, others because it wasn't draconian enough. For now, at least, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's best efforts, it appears as though Obamacare is the law of the land. This, of course, comes in the wake of news that rocked the party last week, after...

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Durham Activist Umar Muhammad Killed In Motorcyle Crash

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 7:24 PM

Umar Muhammad, who fought to help the formerly incarcerated have a second chance at life, died in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon, according to the Durham Police Department. Muhammad, who was thirty, worked as a community organizer for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. He raised two twin boys and recently had a baby girl. “He was so, so hungry for knowledge. He was so earnest, so eager, so passionate,” said Omisade Burney-Scott, who began working with Muhammad through SpiritHouse about five years ago. He had a “megawatt smile” and was “over the moon” about the birth of his...

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