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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Numerous Issues Await New Raleigh City Council Members as They Are Sworn in Monday

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 7:30 PM

A stack of longstanding issues, and at least one controversial new one, will loom ahead for new Raleigh City Council members when they meet Tuesday for the first time since their election in October. At-large member Nicole Stewart and District E representative Stefanie Mendell will have their shot at debating matters such as Airbnb-style rentals, granny flats, and the evolving Community Engagement Board. Mendell, who defeated long-time council member Bonner Gaylord in October, says she's excited about serving and looks forward to clearing away several years worth of underbrush. "I'm hoping that we'll be able to make some progress...

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Students Stage Walkout in Support of Classmates' Fathers Facing Deportation

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 6:41 PM

Students walked out of two Triangle high schools today protesting the potential deportation of their classmates' fathers. José and Darío Arroyo-Delgado came to the United States twenty years ago from Mexico. José lives in Durham and Darío in Garner. Students at Durham's Hillside High School and Garner High School, where some of the brothers' nine children go to school, walked out their classes this morning in protest. Early this morning and again this afternoon, supporters gathered at the Durham office of Congressman G.K. Butterfield asking for his help securing their release. According to the family, the brothers have been checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

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Raleigh Loses Out on MLS—and Maybe Affordable Housing, Too

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Yesterday, Major League Soccer named its four finalists for two franchise slots that will be awarded this year. North Carolina FC’s wasn’t among them. Instead, the finalists were Sacramento, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Detroit. But that doesn’t the Triangle is altogether out of the running. MLS is planning to name two more franchises next year. And while Cincy, Nashville, and Sacramento are all expected to win bids either this year or next, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Raleigh could overtake Detroit. “Detroit’s bid dropped building a soccer-specific stadium in the burgeoning downtown arena district in favor of...

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The End of the Internet As We Know It, Coming Next Month

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 9:42 AM

Last week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney, announced a plan to effectively end net neutrality, which prevents them from blocking access to web pages, slowing some connections, or prioritizing some content over others. In other words, big telecoms will, in theory, be able to alter their fee structures so that you have to pay more to access social media websites, and still more to get on Netflix, and still more if you want to game. More troublesome, though, is that some of these internet service providers are also in the content game, so they could prioritize their...

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

At Least 85 Wells in North Carolina Have Been Contaminated by the Chemical GenX

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Before we dive in, some quick background if you haven’t been following this saga: In June, the North Carolina departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services began investigating the presence of a chemical compound called GenX in the Cape Fear River. A Chemours facility in Fayetteville produces the chemical for use in industrial processes. By August, the DEQ had ordered Chemours to stop discharging GenX and two other compounds into the river. Then, on September 5, the state ordered Chemours to stop releasing all fluorinated compounds into the river or face legal action and the suspension of its...

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Durham Protester Charged with Assaulting Alamance Sheriff Appears in Court

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 6:57 AM

A Superior Court judge isn't buying that previous allegations of racial discrimination against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson are relevant to the case of a Durham man accused of assaulting Johnson at while counterprotesting a Confederate Memorial Day rally earlier this year. Rann Bar-On and William Hood, who is charged with assaulting two other officers at the Graham rally, appeared in Alamance County Superior Court Monday as Judge Reuben Young heard a host of motions filed by their attorney, Scott Holmes. Young will not order the prosecution to turn over extensive evidence Holmes had sought to support a theory that...

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Probe Into $2.3M Loss at Wake County Register of Deeds Office Will Last Until the End of 2017

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 2:45 PM

A state-county investigation into the more than $2.3 million found missing from the Wake County Register of Deeds office will stretch through December, with a grand jury impaneled before the end of 2017, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday. The office sustained the losses between 2008 and 2017, according to a claim the county submitted to its insurers. The losses amounted to more than $100,000 a year for nine straight years and sparked investigations by the county, Freeman's office, and the State Bureau of Investigation. Officials involved with the investigation had said earlier that a grand jury could...

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How Republicans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Deficits

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Remember in 2009, when the economy had collapsed just before Barack Obama became president, and Obama pushed Congress to approve a roughly $800 billion stimulus bill to avert a new Great Depression, but Republicans uniformly voted no, arguing that the stimulus would blow a hole in the budget? Fast-forward to 2017, when the economy President Trump inherited from Obama is stable and growing and unemployment is low; now, many of those same Republicans are pushing for a tax cut that will blow a $1.4 trillion hole in the budget. Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, isn’t even pretending to care about...

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Feminist Bookmobile Coming to Durham

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 9:51 AM

Julia Roxanne Wallace, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Courtney Reid-Eaton want to create a Black Feminist Nerd Haven in Durham. They plan to do it early next year, and on wheels. Wallace, a multimedia artist and preacher also known as Sangodare Akinwale; Gumbs, a scholar and author; and Reid-Eaton, director of exhibitions at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, are currently raising money to create a black feminist bookmobile. Through a fundraiser and merchandise sales, they've already got forty-two contributions toward the $10,000 they need to buy an old Airstream trailer, fit it with shelves and stock it with a...

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

One of Three North Carolina Regions Could Land Amazon's HQ2, CNBC Analysis Says

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 7:23 PM

A study by the cable network CNBC gives one of three locations in the geographically broad area of "Charlotte/Raleigh-Durham/Greensboro-High Point" a decent chance at landing the much-sought-after second headquarters for Amazon, known as HQ2. However the region's incomplete transit system and hangover from the HB2 "bathroom bill" could hurt the Tar Heel State's chances, according to the analysis, which uses the network's 2017 America's Top States for Business study as well as census data. Other areas with solid chances of landing the $5 billion, 50,000-job total project include Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, the network said. Amazon is not commenting on current...

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As Gaylord and Baldwin Leave, Raleigh City Council Nixes Short-Term Rental Plan Again

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 6:45 PM

Departing Raleigh City Council members Bonner Gaylord and Mary-Ann Baldwin said goodbyes to colleagues Tuesday but didn't get the farewell gift they wanted: passage of an ordinance allowing homeowners to rent out part of their homes in the short term. The council has been wrangling with the issue for several years, but only Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Bonner and Baldwin voted yes Tuesday. The ordinance would have legalized the practice of renting dwellings using Airbnb, which describes itself as an "online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations." Forlorn-looking proponents of...

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Bike Sharing Rolls Out in Durham Next Week

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Three hundred dockless bikes will be deployed in Durham beginning next week as part of a new public bike share system. According to a press release from the city, LimeBike and Spin will deploy the bikes on Monday, "with additional operators and bikes to soon follow." Company representatives and city staff will introduce the program Monday at eleven a.m. in CCB Plaza. The bikes are dockless, meaning they can be dropped off and picked up anywhere. Users can find, rent and unlock the bikes with a smartphone app. Access cards are expected to be rolled out for purchase at City...

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Durham Police Equipped with Body Cameras, Mental Health Training

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 10:12 AM

Nearly all Durham police officers have undergone mental health training, and most are equipped with body cameras, according to the police department's third-quarter crime report, which covers the first nine months of 2017 and was presented to the city council Monday night. Chief C.J. Davis said she made eight hours of mental health training a requirement for more than five hundred officers. "It gives them more information about how they could misunderstand a person's mental or physical condition," including responding to substance abuse issues, Davis said. All officers ranked captain and below are now equipped with body cameras—"one of the...

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Friday, November 17, 2017

After the INDY’s Report About Judicial Nominee Thomas Farr Misleading a Senate Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein Wants Answers

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 7:33 PM

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday she's "disturbed greatly" by the INDY’s report that Raleigh lawyer Thomas Farr wasn't truthful with her in committee hearings on the federal judgeship for which he was nominated by President Trump. In addition, two national nonprofit advocacy groups, Alliance for Justice and Lambda Legal, called for new Judiciary Committee hearings on Farr and Alabama nominee Brett Talley—an inexperienced lawyer and former paranormal investigator who is married to a senior White House lawyer—in light of new information. Farr, sixty-three, was picked by Trump to...

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Opponents Screen Documentary About Pipeline Resistance, Urge Cooper Administration to Reject Necessary Permits

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponents huddled inside Raleigh's Unitarian Universalist church last night to watch Water Warriors, a documentary tracking a remote Canadian community's successful fight against a Texas-based oil and gas company. The screening was part of an ongoing statewide effort to oppose the ACP, a six-hundred-mile pipeline that would transport fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia and into eight eastern North Carolina counties. A fierce opposition movement has coalesced around the $5 billion mega-project. The joint venture by Duke and Dominion energies is one of eleven proposed pipelines in the Southeast, five of which have already been approved by the Federal...

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Dammit, Al Franken

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:34 AM

So we’ve added another big name to the list of powerful men accused of sexual misconduct: Al Franken, the comedian-turned-Democratic-senator-and-possible-presidential-contender who, while on a USO tour in 2006, allegedly forcibly kissed a woman and then posed, with a shit-eating grin, for this photo while she was sleeping. Franken apologized a few hours the allegations, made by radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden, came to light yesterday morning: “The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone...

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Calls for Thomas Farr to Reappear Before the Senate Judiciary Committee for More Questions About His Role in the 1990 Helms Campaign

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 4:58 PM

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund on Thursday called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to bring back Raleigh lawyer and federal judicial nominee Thomas Farr before the panel to answer renewed questions about his role in the 1990 Jesse Helms campaign for U.S. Senate. As the INDY reported yesterday, Farr informed U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, that he had no knowledge of a controversial postcard mailing to black residents in that year until he received a Department of Justice letter about it. But Gerald Hebert, a Department of Justice lawyer who was part of investigating the October 1990 event...

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Thomas Farr and the Radical Remaking of the Federal Judiciary

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 9:15 AM

Last night, the INDY’s Thomas Goldsmith reported that Thomas Farr, the longtime North Carolina Republican lawyer who is now President Trump’s nominee for the federal bench, appears to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Raleigh lawyer Thomas Farr, a nominee for a federal judgeship, knew well in advance about a controversial 1990 postcard campaign designed by Republicans to intimidate blacks who wanted to vote, according to a former Department of Justice investigator. The statements made this week by Gerald Hebert, a federal attorney in 1990, directly contradict Farr's sworn testimony in September before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that...

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“I Am Human, I Am Black and I Am Fed Up”: UNC Trustees Hear Public Comments on Silent Sam

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 9:07 PM

UNC's Board of Trustees on Tuesday morning heard from students, faculty, staff, and community members about Silent Sam, the Confederate monument on campus. Twenty-eight people addressed the board and Chancellor Carol Folt. Most called for the statue's removal. Two explicitly said the statue should remain as a memorial to students who fought in the Civil War and to the university's history. Others favored adding more context to the monument's history, adding tributes to black figures or moving the statue to a museum or similar setting. Folt had asked the trustees to hear from the public about the statue, which has...

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Did Former Helms Lawyer Thomas Farr Lie to the Senate Judiciary Committee? It Sure Looks That Way.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 8:49 PM

Raleigh lawyer Thomas Farr, a nominee for a federal judgeship, knew well in advance about a controversial 1990 postcard campaign designed by Republicans to intimidate blacks who wanted to vote, according to a former Department of Justice investigator. The statements made this week by Gerald Hebert, a federal attorney in 1990, directly contradict Farr's sworn testimony in September before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that he only heard about it after a Justice Department letter responding to the plan. Farr did not respond to requests for comment from the INDY Tuesday and Wednesday. Farr’s nomination was approved by the Judiciary...

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Court Stays Civitas Institute's Francis De Luca Appeal of Smithfield Agreement Lawsuit

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Earlier this week, the Court of Appeals stayed a Wake County judge's ruling last month that dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by Francis De Luca, the president of the conservative Civitas Institute. The lawsuit, filed in October 2016, claimed that then-attorney general Roy Cooper had diverted money from public schools to environmental projects in conflict with state law. The money at the center of the lawsuit was the result of a 2000 settlement known as the Smithfield Agreement, in which former attorney general Mike Easley made a deal with pork giant Smithfield Foods that required the company to invest tens of millions...

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Fine, Let’s Talk About the Dumb Raleigh Christmas Parade Fight

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 9:23 AM

WRAL VS. THE GRMA, AND NOBODY WINS. I’ve been reticent to weigh in on the ongoing dispute over the downtown Raleigh Christmas parade, simply because I have a hard time getting worked up over these things. But now that the grievances have reached something of a fever pitch, here we are. The backstory: Last month, WRAL lost its longtime contract to sponsor the Christmas parade to its rival WTVD. But then WRAL announced that it was going to broadcast Saturday’s parade anyway. To the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, which puts on the parade, this lowers the value of future...

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UNC Students, Faculty Rally Against Silent Sam, Monitoring of Protesters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 7:29 PM

UNC students and faculty rallied today against the continuing presence of the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam and the university's use of an undercover officer to monitor a group that has been speaking out about the statue since August. A crowd gathered at UNC's South building, where UNC police chief Jeff McCracken and vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management Derek Kemp looked on as speakers called on the school to remove the statue and end surveillance of protesters. From there, they marched to Silent Sam, which has been the site of protests and a sit-in throughout the fall...

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Poll: Trump, Burr, Tillis All Hugely Unpopular With N.C. Voters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 2:55 PM

A new poll from Elon University shows that the approval ratings President Trump and Republican Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr are far underwater among North Carolina voters. Trump’s approval stands just shy of 37 percent—a slight improvement from last month’s 34.4 percent rating in the same poll, owing entirely to a slight rise in Republican support. More interestingly, though, are the numbers for Burr and Tillis, the latter of whom will be up for reelection in 2020. (Burr says he will retire when his current term ends in 2023.) They both trail Trump in support: Burr’s approval rating is...

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District Attorney: Felony Charges Remain Against Defend Durham Protesters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:08 PM

District Attorney Roger Echols says felony charges against a group accused of pulling down a Confederate monument downtown still stand, despite an announcement in court this morning to the contrary. This morning, seven people charged in connection with the August 14 toppling of the monument appeared in court, where their attorney, Scott Holmes, said Echols had agreed not to proceed with felony charges of inciting a riot. In an email, Echols said the charges remain. The demonstrators are also facing misdemeanor property damage charges. "I wasn’t in Court but I understand Attorney Holmes made comments about felonies being dismissed or...

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What part of illegal don't they understand. Congress is considering the DACAs plus all other illegal aliens in a bill …

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From the WRAL story:
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