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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Silent Sam Protesters Are Taking a Break, But Vow They'll Be Back

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 7:53 PM

A group staging a sit-in around a Confederate monument at UNC is taking a break from their protest after campus police seized items from their campsite. A fluctuating group has occupied the base of the statue, known as Silent Sam, since a protest calling for its removal last Tuesday. Several people, mostly students, have camped out overnight around the statue, which is just off Franklin Street. Although they weren't allowed to set up tents (one was taken Thursday by UNC police), they had set up tables, blankets, and signs that covered the statue of the Confederate solider. Tahj Warren, one...

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Last Residents Leave Forest Hills in Garner; Complex Readies for Business Under New Name

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 7:43 PM

The last departing residents of Forest Hills Apartments spent an angry, emotional final day at the Garner complex, which is taking on a new name and a new set of renters. When a reporter visited the Garner complex in the early afternoon, bleach was being sprayed against the complex, spreading into the open air, and puddling on the ground as people were still moving out. They complained of burning eyes and difficulty breathing. Complex owner Daniel Eller said in an email Thursday afternoon that the procedure was routine maintenance. Earlier in the day, a tow truck pursued vehicles that had arrived...

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Wildin Acosta’s Asylum Hearing Has Been Postponed Until October

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 9:21 AM

Without giving a reason, an immigration judge in Charlotte last night postponed an asylum hearing for Wildin Acosta that was scheduled for this morning. Acosta, a Riverside High School graduate, had fled his native Honduras under the threat of gang violence three years ago. He was expected to testify this morning on his application for asylum, but Judge Stuart Couch has delayed that hearing until October 3. In a video posted last night by Alerta Migratoria, Acosta says he got a call at about seven p.m. from his attorney telling him Couch has continued his case. "We don't know...

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

General Assembly Approves New Legislative Maps. Next Up, Federal Court.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 5:47 PM

After more than a week of tense back-and-forth among lawmakers and an angry public hearing, the legislature voted this afternoon to approve new legislative district maps. Lawmakers were ordered to redraw the maps after the Supreme Court sided with a lower court ruling that 28 of the state's 170 legislative districts were illegally racially gerrymandered. Republican and Democratic lawmakers have spent the better part of the past week sparring over the proposed maps drawn by the GOP-led House and Senate Committees on Redistricting, and the House and Senate voted largely along party lines this afternoon to approve each other's maps. The...

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UNC Chancellor Turns Down Speaking Request from Richard Spencer

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 4:40 PM

Citing safety concerns, UNC chancellor Carol Folt has denied a request to rent space for prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus. With the announcement, UNC joins a growing list of universities turning away the man who coined the term "alt-right." The request comes as UNC students stage a sit-in calling for the removal of Silent Sam, a Confederate monument on campus and demonstrations nationwide against white supremacy, including one that drew hundreds of people to downtown Durham two weeks ago. According to a statement from Folt, the request came from the National Policy Institute, where Spencer is president....

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Wake Schools Officials Say Millions Still Needed in Current Funding; Commission Chair Rules Out Changes Outside Budget Cycle

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Wake County Board of Education members are making clear that they expect millions more in schools funding from the Board of Commissioners, with details spelled out in an email from school board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler to commission chairman Sig Hutchinson. According to the email, leaders of both boards have agreed to continuing discussions on funding. However, Hutchinson said in a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview that  no changes would occur until next year's budget cycle. Commissioners are always willing to listen to the school board's concerns, he said. "We stay in communication with our school board; we like our school board," Hutchinson...

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People's Alliance Makes Durham Municipal Election Endorsements

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 7:58 AM

In a meeting described as "revolutionary," a record number of Durham People's Alliance members handed down endorsements Tuesday for Durham's upcoming municipal election. The last of three major PACs to announce endorsements ahead of the October 10 primary, the PA endorsed Steve Schewel for mayor, DeDreana Freeman for the city council Ward 1 seat, John Rooks for the Ward 2 seat, and Vernetta Alston for the Ward 3 seat. The meeting last nearly five hours, with an additional hour spent signing up new members and renewing existing members' lapsed membership. Prior to the vote, which was closed to the public,...

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

House and Senate Redistricting Committees Approve Maps, Headed to the Floor Next

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Lawmakers are moving forward with their new legislative maps as the deadline to submit them to a three-judge panel draws nearer. The House and Senate committees on redistricting approved each other's legislative maps this afternoon after the maps passed their second and third readings in the House and Senate yesterday. The order to draw new maps came after courts found that 28 of the state's 170 legislative districts were illegally racially gerrymandered. Most of the redistricting committee meetings and floor debates have been accompanied by hours of partisan back-and-forth, with Democrats accusing Republicans of gross partisan and political gerrymandering and Republicans retorting...

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Trump Is About to Kill DACA. What Will That Mean for North Carolinians Like Cinthia Marroquin?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Immigrants are worried about losing their work permits and driver's licenses—and possibly being deported—if President Trump decides to rescind DACA. The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program gave nearly eight hundred thousand unauthorized immigrants temporary work authorization and relief from deportation. But on the campaign trail, President Trump railed against Obama’s “illegal executive amnesties,” saying, “In a Trump administration, all immigration laws will be enforced.” Since taking office, Trump has seemed to waver. In April, he said DACA recipients should “rest easy” because his administration would only go after criminals. But now, that softer tone has gone away. As The...

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As Wake County Funds Behavioral Health Care, Officials Worry About State and Federal Cuts

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 1:23 PM

Wake County is holding steady on its commitment to helping people with behavioral health problems, but a growing population and shortfalls in other funding sources means the need keeps growing. At a four-hour work session Monday, county commissioners and officials including Regina Petteway, director of Wake County Human Services, and District Attorney Lorrin Freeman asked questions about the work that’s getting done and the gaps that need addressing. Wake County’s budget for the new fiscal year includes about $27 million for mental health care, roughly the same as last year. On hand to address their sometimes sharp questions were the...

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As the Senate’s Redistricting Plan Passes Its Third Reading, Republicans Say Democrats Are Haunted by Their Own Shortcomings, Not Gerrymandering

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 6:22 AM

The Senate's redistricting bill cleared its third and final reading Monday evening after the House's redistricting plan moved forward that afternoon. Following more than an hour of debate and a long speech on the Senate floor by Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, the chamber voted 31–15 to advance the new map they were ordered to redraw after courts found that 28 of the state's 170 legislative districts were illegally racially gerrymandered. The court gave the legislature until September 1 to redraw the gerrymandered districts, and the map must be approved before that deadline. Democrats have been railing against the maps since they were made public last week, saying...

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Durham Cops Say No Chemicals Were Found in the Guess Road Hazmat Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 8:09 PM

Emergency responders have not found any chemicals after a man said there was anthrax in his car, shutting down a stretch of Guess Road for several hours today. "A landlord called 911 and said that his tenant had told him he had anthrax in his car and it might blow up. Officers shut down Guess Road between Carver Street and Peppertree Street and evacuated three homes as a precaution while they investigated," the Durham Police Department said in a statement. The road has been closed since about twelve thirty; at about six thirty, the DPD said it would reopen Guess...

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Wake County Says $2.3 Million Went Missing from the Register of Deeds Office Between 2008 and 2017

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 8:06 PM

Wake County officials say about $2.3 million went missing from the Wake County Register of Deeds office between 2008 and 2017, according to a new insurance claim. The official account of the amount believed missing—$2.333,591.30—puts an exclamation point on the ongoing Wake County scandal involving the apparent embezzlement of wads of cash, on a near-daily basis, for nearly a decade. In part of the 266-page document dated August 24, director of internal audit John Stephenson lays out the year-by-year trail of missing revenue for county manager Jim Hartmann and county attorney Scott Warren. An investigation showed amounts in six figures...

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House Redistricting Plan Passes Second and Third Reading

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 4:02 PM

The House redistricting plan passed its second and third reading this afternoon and is headed to the Senate for its third and final reading next. During this afternoon's debate, Republican and Democratic lawmakers clashed over the decision by the Republican-led redistricting committee to exclude racial data from the criteria used to draw the new maps. "How do you correct a racially gerrymandered district without including race?" Representative Mickey Michaux, a Democrat from Durham, asked Representative David Lewis, chairman of the House Committee on Redistricting. Democrats also chafed at the House's proposed new maps, which they said were gerrymandered along racial...

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UNC Grad Students, Campus Employees Seek to Form a Union

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 7:38 AM

Graduate students and campus workers at UNC-Chapel Hill are organizing for better working conditions—and, in the process, reviving the school’s union past. The North Carolina Public Service Workers Union traces its roots to UNC’s campus, where in the early 1990s housekeepers—along with groundskeepers and maintenance workers—organized with goals of better pay and freedom from discrimination. Linking up with housekeepers throughout the UNC system and other public employees, they formed the Public Service Workers Organization that, in 1997, would give way to a new, statewide chapter of the national United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America—UE 150. UE 150 now...

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Report: Video Visits Can Be a “Powerful Supplement” for the Incarcerated

Posted By on Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 7:08 PM

In a new report from the Vera Institute, researchers studied more than nine thousand people incarcerated by the Washington State prison system and found that the small portion who used video visitation regularly saw an increase in in-person visits and strengthened relationships with loved ones. But, the report cautions, “when in-person visits are scrapped in favor of video visits, agencies are likely doing more harm than good.” The findings come as the Durham County Detention Facility plans to implement video visitation this fall. Initially, visitors will have to use video kiosks in the jail lobby to utilize the technology. The Durham...

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Redistricting Roundup: Senate Bill Passes Second Reading and House Redistricting Committee Advances its Proposal

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 3:55 PM

Lawmakers have just one week to present their new legislative maps to a three-judge panel by Sept. 1—and are moving forward with their proposals despite serious objections from the public, voting rights advocates, and members of the General Assembly. On Friday, lawmakers met to weigh in on the Senate's proposed legislative maps, which cleared the redistricting committee Thursday night, and the House redistricting committee's remapping proposal. Both ended up moving forward. The Senate's redistricting bill passed its second reading while the House redistricting committee green-lighted its remapping proposal. Both chambers are slated to vote on the proposals next week. Lawmakers were...

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Councilman Cox Returns Dean Debnam's Campaign Contribution, Citing Dispute With Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Raleigh City Council member David Cox has returned a $5,100 campaign donation from businessman Dean Debnam, citing a dispute between Debnam and the city that could come before the council for consideration. Cox, who represents District B, is running for re-election in Oct. 10 balloting. Debnam is the chief executive officer of Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh-based, nationally known polling operation. "He made a contribution through PayPal," Cox said of Debnam. "I returned it because I am aware there is a legal dispute between Mr. Debnam and the city." Debnam sued the city last year over height restrictions that were...

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Senate Legislative Maps Advance in Yesterday's Redistricting Committee Hearing with Small Tweaks

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 1:21 PM

After hours of sparring with Democrats over race and gerrymandering, Senate Republicans advanced their new legislative maps Thursday evening with a few small changes. The Senate redistricting committee meeting came two days after dozens of North Carolinians sounded off on the maps in public hearings throughout the state and less than a week after the committee released its proposed new maps for nearly thirty legislative districts in the state. In June, the Supreme Court sided with a lower court ruling that 28 of the state's 170 legislative districts were illegally racially gerrymandered. To remedy that, courts gave the legislature until...

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Durham Public Schools Ban Confederate Flags, Other Divisive Symbols

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 9:49 PM

The Durham Public Schools' Board of Education voted unanimously tonight to revise the school system's dress code to prohibit symbols that may "intimidate other students on the basis of race." The board also voted tonight to remove the name of Julian Carr from the middle school building at Durham School of the Arts because of "his beliefs in racial superiority." In a Facebook post, the school system says this may include the Confederate flag, swastikas and symbols associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The vote comes amid a national and local debate over Confederate monuments. Orange County schools made a similar...

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Silent Sam Protesters Call For 24-Hour Sit-In

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 4:43 PM

Protesters are calling for a twenty-four hour occupation of UNC's Confederate Silent Sam statue beginning this evening. Hundreds of people converged on the Chapel Hill campus Tuesday night to call for the removal of the statue. Three people were arrested during the protest, which was peaceful but saw several tense confrontations with police. Some protesters stayed overnight Tuesday and have been taking shifts around the monument. On Facebook, protesters are asking people to join their sit-in beginning at six this evening. They are also asking for temporary rain shelter, like tents, and portable batteries. "A core group of these...

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Get In Touch With Mayoral and Council Candidates at Upcoming Community Forums

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 6:20 PM

As fall and Oct. 10 elections draw nigh, the Triangle calendar is dotted with candidate forums for municipal elections. A sort of speed-dating take on hometown politics, events such as the one Tuesday night at Antioch Baptist Church in Southeast Raleigh draw well-known incumbents and novices alike. Each has to blast through something like a stump speech, hoping to hit key words and concepts that will turn voters their way. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane had two minutes to speak, just like the others who approached the podium with varied degrees of preparation and expertise. A timekeeper gave each candidate a warning...

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Demonstrators Question the Police’s Handling of Last Night’s Silent Sam Protest

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 4:43 PM

The arrest of a local activist at a protest on UNC campus last night marked a turning point in what had been until that point a largely conflict-free protest. But around eight p.m., when officers took Greg Williams, of Durham, into custody, leading him away from the crowd, hundreds of protesters followed and found themselves face to face with cops in tactical gear. And it all started because Williams, one of three people arrested, was wearing a bandana over part of his face. It is against state law for a person "wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person,...

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North Carolinians Blast Lawmakers Over Redistricting: "Whoever Drew this Map Certainly was Coloring Outside the Lines"

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 12:13 PM

Dozens of people packed into seven public hearings across the state last night to weigh in on North Carolina's proposed maps for nearly thirty legislative districts, and they were not pleased. "When I look at the new maps I'm amazed by the contortions and variegated shapes of many areas," said Kim Koo, a member of the Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group. "It looks like a collage and a distortion of reality. It's so twisted. It takes a lot of work and conscious thought to come up with such a map, and it is both racist and divisive." The new maps come...

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Tense Moments in A Peaceful Protest of UNC's Silent Sam

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 6:48 AM

Three people were arrested in a protest that brought hundreds of people to the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill and saw several tense confrontations between demonstrators and police. The rally began at Silent Sam, a Confederate monument on campus, with speeches from protesters and chants calling for the monument to be torn down. When police took a protester into custody, much of the crowd ran after them to Hyde Hall. There, protesters confronted officers, some of whom were wearing riot gear. From there, protesters tried to block a police van carrying the person arrested from turning on to Franklin Street....

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PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

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