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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Protesters Renew Calls for Change at the Durham Jail—This Time Through Song

Posted By on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 7:26 AM

Demonstrators rallied at a Durham County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night in what one participant called "a renewed opening salvo" demanding changes at the county jail. About twenty-five people, including members of Inside-Outside Alliance and Alerta Migratoria, gathered in front of the county government building on Main Street. Earlier in the day, barricades were put up around the base of the now-dismantled Confederate monument that stood in front of the county government building. Before demonstrators showed up, about a dozen deputies gathered around the monument, prompting one of the first arrivals to sarcastically ask the officers if they were...

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 4:11 PM

Nine people facing felony charges in an August 14 demonstration that saw a Confederate monument toppled appeared in court this morning. Their cases were continued until November, but that didn’t stop them from taking a victory lap. The group, united under the banner Defend Durham, marched from the courthouse to Central Park along with supporters from Greensboro, Raleigh, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. They detoured by the site of the monument (now just a pedestal) to give remarks and honor Heather Heyer, an antiracist protester who was killed one month ago during the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in...

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Chief Davis: The DPD Thought Info About the Rumored Klan Rally Was “Not Worth Putting Out,” But the Sheriff’s Office Did It Anyway

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 6:58 AM

Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis presented an after-action report on the anti-hate rally in downtown Durham last month to the City Council on Tuesday. Among the highlights: The initial information received by law enforcement suggested the Sons of Confederate Veterans, not the KKK, could be coming to town. Reports of a possible Klan rally that originated with the Durham County Sheriff's Office prompted hundreds of people to converge on downtown within a matter of hours. Davis says her agency would not have shared unconfirmed reports of a possible rally. "We just felt from the beginning that this was going to be a...

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Sheriff's Office Confirms It Started Those “Rumors” About a KKK Rally in Durham

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 6:17 AM

Hundreds of people converged on downtown Durham Friday afternoon, ready to stand up to white supremacists. But as they stood on the street baking in the midday sun, waiting for something to happen, many began to wonder whether the Klan was actually going to show. Throughout the day, government officials, including the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, stressed that there had been no confirmed reports of the KKK coming to town and launched a social media campaign warning people not to spread “rumors.” But information about the white supremacists’ potential arrival began with the Sheriff's Office itself. Friday morning, reports...

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Durham City Council Member: White Supremacists Rallying in Durham at Noon

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 10:37 AM

This morning, INDY reporter Sarah Willets was at the Durham County Courthouse, where she heard that Sheriff Mike Andrews had confirmed that a hate group—possibly the Klan—was going to hold a demonstration at noon. A few minutes ago, Durham City Council member Jillian Johnson and Scott Holmes, the attorney representing the eight who were arrested for toppling a Confederate monument Monday, tweeted that it’s happening.  Willets reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for confirmation. Spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs responded with a statement attributed to Andrews: “The Sheriff’s Office is thoroughly researching the potential of several groups with opposing viewpoints holding demonstrations...

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Eight Now Face Charges in Confederate Monument Toppling

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 6:44 AM

Four more people were arrested Thursday in connection with the removal of a Confederate monument in Durham on Monday, bringing the total number of demonstrators charged to eight. The four people charged yesterday surrendered to authorities as part of a symbolic mass turn-in this morning. They are Taylor Cook, Aaron Caldwell, Raul Jimenez, and Elena Everett. The demonstrators are charged with property damage in excess of $1,500 (a Class H felony), inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (a Class F felony), injury to real property (a misdemeanor), defacing a public monument (a misdemeanor), and injury...

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bree Newsome, Who Pulled Down S.C. Confederate Flag in 2015, Salutes Durham Demonstrators

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Demonstrators who tore down a Confederate monument in Durham Monday have the support of someone who knows a bit about taking on the symbols of white supremacy: Bree Newsome. Newsome, who was born in Durham, famously removed a Confederate flag flying above the South Carolina state capitol two years ago. Images of Newsome scaling the flagpole with a climber's harness spread like wildfire in the wake of the murder of nine people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Via Twitter, Newsome has been sending messages of support to the activists who on Monday toppled the Main Street statue dedicated...

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Three Demonstrators Charged in Confederate Monument Removal

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:58 AM

The Durham County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday arrested three people in connection with a rally and the removal of a Confederate monument on Main Street. Dante Strobino and Ngoc Loan Tran were taken into custody by deputies during a first court appearance for Takiyah Thompson, who climbed the statue during a rally on Monday and was arrested following a press conference at N.C. Central on Tuesday afternoon. Peter Gilbert was arrested Wednesday afternoon, according to a Sheriff's Office press release.. As Thompson waited for her name to be called in court, deputies began asking quietly asking people to step out...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Durham Sheriff Identifying Demonstrators, Pursuing Felony Charges

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said this afternoon that he had considered ordering his deputies to "engage the crowd" last night in a rally that saw a Confederate monument toppled, but he opted instead for "restraint" in order to prevent injuries. Andrews, along with county manager Wendell Davis, spoke Tuesday afternoon in a brief press conference on the demonstration and the removal of the monument. Andrews said his agency had identified some demonstrators and would be pursuing felony charges. "We can all agree yesterday went too far. Yesterday was not the Durham that I know," he said. Monday's rally was...

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The Durham County Sheriff's Office Says It Will Seek Charges After Removal of Confederate Monument

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 10:24 AM

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews says his agency will use video taken Monday of demonstrators removing of a Confederate monument in front of a county building to seek charges against the protesters. The statue, erected in 1924, was easily toppled Monday night during a rally held in response to deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday. In a statement, Andrews says he is "not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators, nor will I ignore their criminal conduct." During the demonstration, officers largely stood by, with at least one filming the events. Andrews's posture is...

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“Make Racists Afraid Again”: The Scene as Demonstrators Toppled a Confederate Monument in Durham Monday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:20 AM

Chanting "make racists afraid again" and "no cops, no KKK, no fascist USA," demonstrators toppled a ninety-three-year-old Confederate monument in downtown Durham Monday night. After a demonstrator climbed to the top of a ladder and looped a yellow rope around the hollow figure, a crowd gathered outside of the Durham County government building cheered, with a few kicking the statue, which was erected in 1924 "in memory of the boys who wore the gray."  The rally was organized by several groups, including the Workers World Party Durham Branch, in response to the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in...

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Inside-Outside Alliance, Alerta Migratoria Protest the Durham Sheriff’s Video-Visitation and ICE Detainer Policies

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 4:42 PM

The Inside-Outside Alliance and Alerta Migratoria gathered just over thirty people in CCB Plaza Thursday to protest the Durham Sheriff’s Office’s planned implementation of video visitation and its policy of honoring ICE detainers. The group gathered outside of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners annual conference in an effort to pressure Sheriff Mike Andrews, as the Durham Board of Commissioners has control over the Sheriff’s Office budget. "The problem with the sheriff is there's elections every six years, and after he gets elected, he doesn't have to even talk to a regular member of the public ever again after...

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Report: Electronic Voting System in Durham Targeted by Russian Cyberattack. Officials Say No Vote Counts Affected.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 6:40 AM

You might remember hearing about voting issues at several Durham precincts on Election Day—particularly, screw-ups with poll books, the electronic systems used to check voters in. Now, NPR reports that the company responsible for providing the poll books was the target of a Russian cyberattack. According to a leaked NSA report, Russian hackers tried to break into VR Systems, the company that provided the poll books for more than twenty North Carolina counties, in August of last year. State officials didn't learn about the attack until nearly a year after it took place—when the news site The Intercept published a...

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Friday, July 28, 2017

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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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Durham Public Schools and a Contractor Agree to Pay $77K to Settle Claims of Custodial Workers Owed Back Pay and Overtime

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 6:32 PM

In a settlement approved by a federal court today, custodial workers who worked for Integrity Facilities Management LLC, which contracted with Durham Public Schools, secured pay they are owed but never received. The N.C. Justice Center, representing 149 plaintiffs in a case against DPS and a contractor, SSC Service Solutions, settled for $77,000, which will be divided among the workers based on how much they are owed. The settlement comes after lawyers at the N.C. Justice Center discovered that Integrity Facilities Management, which filed for bankruptcy in 2014, underpaid workers and did not properly pay them for overtime hours. Workers...

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Durham Mayor Bill Bell is challenging local landlords and the Durham Housing Authority to house another thirty homeless households with rent vouchers within in the next seven months. It's part of an effort, discussed Tuesday morning during the annual Mayor's Landlord Roundtable, to get more local landlords to accept rent subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8. The DHA administers the vouchers locally. Thirty is a small number compared with how many people need affordable housing, but, as Bell said, it's part of a larger "vision" to end homelessness...

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

CASA Buys Two Durham Apartment Complexes, Adding 79 Units of Affordable Housing to Its Portfolio

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:38 PM

Nonprofit housing provider CASA has added seventy-nine apartments to its portfolio of affordable units in Durham, Wake, and Orange counties. (In case you haven't heard, Durham is in need of affordable housing). CASA announced Tuesday that it had purchased the forty-four-unit Underwood Apartments on Underwood Avenue in Durham and the thirty-five-unit Maplewood Apartments on West Chapel Hill Road in Durham, bringing its total stock to 490. The complexes were built by the same developer. “This acquisition allows us to preserve the Underwood and Maplewood apartments as affordable rental housing in Durham and gives the current tenants assurance that their rent will remain...

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Durham-Orange Light Rail Nears Next Step in Grant Process, Has No Guarantee of Federal Funding

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 12:20 PM

The Federal Transit Administration could decide within a few weeks whether the proposed Durham-Orange light rail can move onto the next phase of an application to win a grant that would cover half the cost of the $3.3 billion project. Mike Charbonneau, communications director for GoTriangle, which is working with Durham and Orange counties to head the project, said the transit authority expects to hear from the FTA by the end of July. If the FTA gives its approval, Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit can move from the project development phase of a federal grant application process to the engineering and design phase....

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Primer: Senate Health Bill CBO Score—Fatal Blow or Flesh Wound?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Hey, y’all. There’s A TON of news today, and, as ever, I’ll move through it as expeditiously as possible. First, though, a teaser: later this afternoon, the INDY is going to drop part one of what will be a three-part series on North Carolina’s pork industry and its effect on the state’s environment and hog farms’ eastern North Carolina neighbors. Reporters Erica Hellerstein and Ken Fine have been working on this project for months. It’s deeply reported and a very (in my estimation) important read. Keep an eye out for it. Anyway, let’s begin. 1. CBO SAYS 22M WILL LOSE...

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Durham Commissioners Approve $633M Budget

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 6:11 AM

Following less-than-expected education funding in the state budget, the Durham County budget will give more funding to Durham Public Schools,  but not as much as advocates say is needed to ensure teaching positions aren't cut. The commissioners approved the $633.14 million budget, including $134 million for Durham Public Schools, after Commissioner Heidi Carter, a former school board member, tried unsuccessfully to get her colleagues to add another 0.15 cents to the property tax rate to help cover shortfalls in state education funding. Education proponents, including members of the Durham Association of Educators, left the meeting following a unanimous vote of approval....

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Activists Plan to “Storm” Durham County Budget Hearing Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 4:39 PM

Two local advocacy groups want Durham County commissioners to hold Sheriff Mike Andrews accountable and plan to make their demands known in a budget hearing tonight. A public hearing on the proposed 2017–18 county budget will be held during the Board of Commissioners' regular seven p.m. meeting tonight. Inside-Outside Alliance, which works on behalf of inmates, and Alerta Migratoria NC, an immigration advocacy group, are asking supporters to "storm" the hearing. What do they want? For Andrews (whom they call “Lyin' Andrews”) to take questions under oath about his department's practices, for the Sheriff's Office to cease any cooperation with...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Comey Calls Trump a Liar

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 8:43 AM

It's Friday. We made it through another week. Let's go out with a bang, courtesy of former FBI director James Comey. 1) Comey calls Trump a liar. For those of you who watched the former FBI director testify on the Hill yesterday, you know that James Comey dropped more than a few bombshells. From The New York Times: "Those were lies. Plain and simple." He set that tone from the beginning, opening with a goodbye to his former employees, to whom he was unable to personally bid farewell. And he said Mr. Trump had lied — a word that is...

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

State Autopsy Says Niecey Fennell Committed Suicide

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 11:22 AM

An autopsy of a seventeen-year-old found dead at the Durham County Detention Facility in March reached the same conclusion as the Sheriff's Office: Uniece "Niecey" Fennell committed suicide. The autopsy, released today by the Office of the State Medical Examiner, says Fennell died of asphyxia due to hanging. Fennell's family, however, has denied that she would kill herself and has requested an independent investigation as well as another autopsy. "The markings and bruising remaining on her body show something different then a sheet being tied around her neck to kill herself," a GoFundMe site to raise money for the second autopsy...

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Durham HRC Will Present Jail Report to Sheriff Tonight

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 4:19 PM

The Durham Human Relations Commission is presenting the final version of its review of the Durham County Detention Facility to Sheriff Mike Andrews and members of his staff tonight. The commission drafted the report in January and updated it in March. Although Andrews (and other local officials) have seen the report, Commission chairwoman Diane Standaert said tonight will mark the first direct discussion of the final draft between the HRC and the Sheriff's Office. Andrews invited HRC members to discuss the report, which makes ten recommendations about practices at the jail and for people awaiting trial in Durham County, with him and...

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The Morning Roundup: Sessions and Trump Are Reportedly At Odds, Comey Set to Testify Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 8:49 AM

First things first. Our annual "Best of the Triangle" edition is on the racks, so go grab one and congratulate the many winners you guys chose. Now let's check out Tuesday's headlines. 1) The Sessions/Trump bromance is reportedly over. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly upset that the president isn't allowing him to do his job. How upset? He offered his resignation. From The New York Times: Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign in recent weeks as he told President Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, according to two people who were briefed on the discussion....

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