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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

In Durham, McDonald’s Workers, Activists Protest Allegedly Pervasive Sexual Harassment

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:41 AM

Across the country, workers walked off the job and demonstrated outside McDonald’s restaurants Tuesday to protest what they describe as pervasive sexual harassment the company has failed to address. In Durham more than seventy people gathered outside of a McDonald’s on North Roxboro Street to join the protest, demanding that McDonald’s institute a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy and pay its workers a living wage of $15 an hour. At least twenty-five McDonald’s workers have filed complaints alleging that reporting their abuse made them the subject of mockery and retaliation on the job. Among them was Timaren Evans, who says she...

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Triangle Residents Advised to Seek Safety from Hurricane Florence's Floodwaters

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 7:38 AM

The city of Raleigh has warned twenty-six thousand residents of flood risks at their properties ahead of Hurricane Florence's arrival, WRAL reports, and in Durham, more than one hundred properties have been identified as being at risk of flooding. Raleigh officials described their advisory in a news conference Wednesday. The city is using reverse-911 technology to encourage thousands of residents living in areas that repeatedly flood to seek higher ground. Those areas include: Anderson & Oxford Atlantic & Hodges Bailey Drive, 500 block Calumet Drive, 3200 block Claremont Road, 2900 block Garner Road, 1800 block Glenwood & Creedmoor Gorman &...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thanks for Nothing, Florence: The Durham Bulls Will Play All Five Games of the Governors’ Cup on the Road

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 4:22 PM

Tonight, the Durham Bulls will take to Scranton’s PNC Field for game one of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (booooooooooooooooooo). The winner of the best-of-five series—the first two games of which were to be played in Scranton, the rest in Durham—will claim the title of champion of the International League, one of two Triple-A leagues. Essentially, this is the World Series of the minor leagues. The Bulls won it last year, they’re gonna do it again this year, and we working forward to watching them do it at DBAP on Thursday night (is it too optimistic to predict...

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Durham County Officials Lay Out Legislative Priorities, Including Medicaid Expansion and $1.9 Billion for Schools

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 10:35 AM

Expanding Medicaid, improving social services, and combating opioid overdoses are among the priorities Durham County wants legislators to take on in their next long session. Durham County commissioners and staff discussed seventeen preliminary legislative goals during a work session Tuesday, outlining policies and funding for which the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners should lobby the state. Most fell within the purview of social services and public health, as well as transit. The list will go to the NCACC along with goals from other counties, which will get narrowed down before being delivered to legislators in January. Commissioners on Monday reviewed...

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dear DPAC, We Really Need to Talk About Jordan Peterson

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 6:41 AM

Dear DPAC, your friends at the INDY here. Might we have a quick word? This week, you announced that you’ll be hosting “cultural critic” Jordan B. Peterson in September. “The show,” you explained, “will feature revolutionary talks on overcoming life’s biggest obstacles, how to improve oneself, the psychology of religion, mythology and much more.” While this undoubtedly came straight from Peterson’s press packet, we think you owe it to the Triangle to be a bit more transparent about his controversial (i.e., regressive, backward, and hate-mongering) touchstone topics. Because here’s the thing, DPAC: Context matters. Durham exists—for better or for worse—in the...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Is the General Assembly About to Kill Light Rail?

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 7:07 AM

The budget adjustment Republicans in the General Assembly crafted behind closed doors, unveiled last night, and are expected to pass by a veto-proof supermajority later this week—for the first time in modern history, without an opportunity for lawmakers to offer amendments, because democracy is for suckers—does a lot of things. It keeps the tax cuts coming, lowering the personal income-tax rate to 5.25 percent (from 5.499 percent), cutting the corporate tax rate from 3 percent to 2.5 percent, and throwing a ton of incentive money at major new economic projects (cough Apple cough). It includes an average 6.5 percent raise for...

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Protesters at Duke Joe Van Gogh Call on Administration to Condemn Controversial Employee Firing

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 6:03 PM

Dozens of students appeared outside of the Joe Van Gogh on Duke West Campus early this afternoon to protest the termination of two of the coffee shop’s employees. Both baristas were asked to resign after Duke’s vice president for student affairs, Larry Moneta, complained that they were playing an explicit rap song. Moneta told Britni Brown, a black woman and a barista at the coffee shop, that the song that was playing, “Get Paid” by Young Dolph, was offensive and inappropriate. Brown immediately, turned off the song, and offered to give Moneta his order free of charge. Moneta and Kevin...

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Joe Van Gogh Owner Robbie Roberts Apologizes for Handling of Duke Officials’ Demand to Fire Baristas

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 12:06 PM

In a statement posted on the company’s website this morning, Joe Van Gogh owner Robbie Roberts apologized for how his company handled a demand from Duke administrators to fire two baristas over a song that university vice president of student affairs Larry Moneta found offensive. His statement: Joe Van Gogh apologizes to our employees, customers and community for how we handled a situation involving our Duke University store. As you have read, it is true that Joe Van Gogh is a contractor to Duke. We attempted to understand Duke’s position in this case, but we should have taken a different...

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Duke University VP Walked Into the Campus Joe Van Gogh, Heard a Rap Song, Demanded That the Employees Be Fired

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 4:32 PM

On Monday, two employees of Duke University’s Joe Van Gogh location had their contracts terminated after vice president for student affairs Larry Moneta and executive director of dining services Robert Coffey demanded that the local coffee chain fire them. Their offense? While he was in the store Friday, Moneta heard a rap song that he found offensive. The incident highlights the precarious relationship between the university and its contracted employees, who are not afforded the same benefits and protections as Duke’s full-time employees, but whose employers are not in a position to defend them out of fear of losing business...

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Durham City Council Unanimously Approves Contentious Zoning Regulations in Old West Durham

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 8:17 AM

The Durham council chamber, nearly packed to capacity, was awash with yellow “No” and lime-green “Yes” signs on Monday night in anticipation of the city council’s precedent-setting decision regarding a set of citizen-led zoning regulations in Old West Durham. In the end, the culmination of years of contentious debate among the neighborhood’s residents, the council unanimously approved the regulations for a neighborhood on the cusp of rapid change. The new set of rules, known as a neighborhood protection overlay, or NPO, aims to reduce teardowns and limit the size of new construction in the area. The NPO was created to...

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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Opportunity Zone Tax Incentive Is Supposed to Help Distressed Areas. See Which Parts of Durham Are Up for It.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 11:32 AM

Seven Durham census tracts are being nominated for designation as opportunity zones under a buried provision in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designed to encourage investment in low-income areas. The seven Durham tracts were among 252 statewide recommended by Governor Cooper on Friday to the U.S. Treasury Department, which is expected to rubberstamp the nominations. "The City is excited that seven of our community’s recommendations were selected, especially in those areas and census tracts that need a catalyst for investment and job creation," says Andre Pettigrew, director of the city of Durham's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "Our submission was indeed...

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Local Activists Condemn the Detention of Up to Twenty-Five Undocumented Immigrants Across the Triangle

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 2:34 PM

On Friday morning, the activist group El Centro Hispano and officials from around North Carolina denounced a spate of ICE raids across the Triangle that have led to the detention of up to twenty-five local undocumented immigrants over the past several weeks. At a press conference, U.S. Representative David Price spoke about his work to protect undocumented families in North Carolina. Price said that he spoke with ICE officials last week and called on them to be honest and transparent about what initiated the raids. However, he said, they offered little new information about their policies and practices. Price said he believes...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Everything Is Awesome! Notes on the State of Downtown Raleigh and Durham, According to Their Professional Boosters

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 9:10 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. There are people who get excited about urban planning, and then there is Joe Minicozzi, the principal at Asheville’s Urban3 LLC and a former executive director of the Asheville Downtown Association. Yesterday afternoon, he was the keynote speaker at the first annual State of Downtown Durham event, hosted by Downtown Durham Inc. Unlike the same State of Downtown Raleigh event earlier on Tuesday—which I didn’t attend but have in years past—this was a more laid-back affair at the Rickhouse, with beer...

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Responding to Activists, the Durham City Council Rejects Police Exchanges With Israel

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 9:54 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. In February, the INDY reported that Durham activists were pushing the city council to pass a resolution condemning exchanges between American police officers and Israeli security forces, citing those Israeli forces’ alleged human rights violations. At a work session yesterday, the council did just that. Well, sorta. From the Herald-Sun: “The Durham City Council went on record Thursday opposing military-style training by...

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Here’s Some Good News for Proponents of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 9:50 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Yesterday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation released an evaluation of seventy-seven Statewide Mobility projects that are seeking state funds***. And while you have to play around with the Excel link a bit to suss this out, the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project was given the highest Regional Impact Quantitative Score among transit projects, a 53.33 out of a possible 70. Carrboro...

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Let’s Try (and Fail) to Make Sense of Durham’s Latest Crime Stats

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 8:51 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Back in November, we put together an infographic looking at what the Durham Police Department’s third-quarter crime report told us about whether the Bull City was becoming safer. It was, as these things tend to be, a mixed bag. Homicides were down, but rapes, and violent crimes generally, were up. Burglaries were down, but robberies and vehicle thefts were up. And so...

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Congress’s Omnibus Spending Bill Could Potentially Mean Good News for Downtown Durham

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 3:01 PM

The $1.3 trillion spending bill being rushed through Congress ahead of tomorrow’s deadline is a complex, multifaceted thing, some twenty-two hundred pages long, with countless goodies tucked into its nooks and crannies. As we reported this morning, it lifts a prohibition—or, depending on whom you ask, a quasi-prohibition—on federal funding for gun-violence research, something local congressman David Price has been seeking for years. It is also the military-industrial complex’s dream come true, and it throws just enough money at border security to let President Trump beat his chest about the dumb wall. But the more time we have to dig into...

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Friday, March 16, 2018

The Durham Sheriff Says the Bungled Confederate Monument Case Wasn’t His Fault

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:27 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. In an interview with the Herald-Sun’s Virginia Bridges, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews defended his department’s handling of the Confederate monument toppling, first by saying deputies thought the statue was bolted to the base (it wasn’t) and then saying they turned over twenty videos to the DA’s office (the DA’s office said it never got them and presented two others in court)....

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

So What’s Going On With This Heated Durham NPO Debate?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 9:13 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. We’ve seen these kinds of debates throughout the Triangle in recent years, and they’re always fascinating to watch. They go something like this: people move into a somewhat affordable urban neighborhood, full of bungalows and midsize houses. But as the years go by, some of those houses are bought out by developers, demolished, and then rebuilt into something much bigger, maybe even...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Amid National Walkouts, Little Kids From Durham Early School Voice Their Own Call for the Rights of Children

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 3:15 PM

As thousands of students across the nation walked out of classrooms this morning to call for an end to gun violence, children from Carolina Friends Durham Early School came up with their own way to make their voices heard. A group of twenty-one kids traveled to Durham’s City Hall and met with a city council official to present a "Rights of Children" document that listed freedoms they believed every child around the world deserves. Some of the three-to-six-year-olds held posters with hearts and peace signs, while city council member Javiera Caballero read over their list and promised to share...

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Judge Tells Durham GOP Why He Didn't Convict Protesters Charged with Toppling a Confederate Monument

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 2:40 PM

"I'm going to talk about the elephant in the room right now," Durham County District Court Judge Fred Battaglia Jr. told a crowd of thirty-plus people Thursday night. Battaglia wasn't talking about the starred elephant on the Durham County Republican Party banner hanging on a wall to his left. Instead, he was referring to why—given the abundance of video taken showing protesters pulling down a Confederate monument in Durham last summer and speaking about it to the press—he was unable to convict anyone accused of damaging the statue during trials last month. Battaglia said he offered to speak to the...

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Would Your Favorite President Survive These Duke Professors’ March Madness Brackets?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 11:01 AM

Next week, two Duke professors—B.J. Rudell, the associate director of POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service; and Fritz Mayer, the associate dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy—will host a five-day seminar, in which students will evaluate presidents in terms of measures of their “greatness.” It’s geared toward a very special—one might say peculiar—kind of student: the kind that is fine giving up his or her Spring Break for a weeklong class on politics that doesn’t even offer course credit. “We’re really trying to engage students in politics in a wide variety of ways—in this case, how...

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Vert & Vogue Awarded B Corp Distinction, Vows to Expand Social and Environmental Initiatives

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 12:50 PM

Durham retailer Vert & Vogue recently earned distinction as a B Corp, the equivalent of a Fair Trade certification in the coffee industry. The B Corp title is given to companies that meet a meticulous list of standards demonstrating their dedication to environmentally and socially conscious business practices. The boutique says that ethical business practices have always been at the core of its mission but that its B Corp status will offer more comprehensive metrics to identify new areas for improvement. As part of its new distinction, the specialty clothing store deepened its partnership with Urban Ministries of Durham, a...

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Durham Activists Want the City to Become the First in the U.S. to Condemn Exchanges Between Local Cops and Israeli Security Forces

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Since 9/11, high-ranking American police officers from all over the country have been sent to Israel for counterterrorism training, a practice critics find problematic due to Israeli security forces’ record of human rights abuses. Demilitarize! From Durham2Palestine—a coalition of local activist groups—wants the city council to pass a resolution condemning these exchanges and provide assurances that the Durham Police Department will not allow its officers to participate in the future. Durham’s last two police chiefs have participated in these exchanges. Former DPD chief Jose Lopez attended a national counterterrorism training program in Israel through the Anti-Defamation League, and current chief...

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Charges Dropped Against Two Accused of Bringing Weapons to Anti-Klan Rally

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 12:25 PM

Last summer, Dwayne Dixon was charged with bringing a weapon to a spontaneous anti-Klan demonstration that brought hundreds of people to downtown Durham. On Thursday, the charge against him was dismissed. Dixon, without hesitation, says he would do it all over again. But, he hopes next time (if there is a next time) other people would join him—not necessarily by carrying a semi-automatic rifle, like he did on August 18—but by defending the people around them in their own way. "They can do these things too," he told the INDY. "They can participate in these really diverse, passionate, engaging, liberatory...

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