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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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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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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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is Zoning Holding Old East Durham Back?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:55 PM

Joe Bushfan says that when he opened a hot dog restaurant on Angier Avenue in 2010, the neighborhood had all but been forgotten. With too few customers, he closed down five years later. “The community couldn’t even support it,” says Bushfan, who started his restaurant with the help of a $200,000 matching grant from the city and has since converted the space into a commercial kitchen. Now, he says, there is more life in the Angier-Driver corridor. The city in 2013 spent $4.8 million on improvements to the streets, sidewalks, and utilities around the very corner where Joe’s Diner (now...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Farad Ali Officially Kicks Off Durham Mayoral Campaign

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Farad Ali wanted to have a community gathering and not just "another speech" to kick off his campaign for mayor of Durham. So Tuesday night, he addressed a crowd at Forest Hills Park. It’s not just "another park" either, Ali said. “This park is in between affluent and less affluent neighborhoods. It’s in the middle. We’re all here,” Ali said. “We’re so much stronger together.” Ali is one of four candidates to announce a bid for mayor of Durham. The other three are Pierce Freelon, an entrepreneur, professor, and musician,; Steve Schewel, a city council member since 2011, former school...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Update: All Four Escaped Red Wolf Pups Recaptured at Museum of Life and Science

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 12:02 PM

Three (adorable) red wolf pups who had escaped from their enclosure at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science have been "safely recaptured and reintroduced the red wolf pups with their parents," the museum said in a statement this morning. Four of the seven-week-old pups, who were born at the museum, escaped their enclosure early Monday. One, a female, has not been captured but is inside the perimeter fence around the wolves' habitat. "Ongoing recapture efforts include offering extra food and water where the pups have been spotted and humane traps specially designed for live capture have also been...

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Primer: The NCGA Has a Budget and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 8:20 AM

Greetings and salutations, readers. There’s a lot in the news today, but before we get started, a quick reminder, if you have any thoughts/questions/suggestions/tips as to how we can make Primer better—or if you’d like to get this blog delivered straight to your inbox every morning—email them to indyprimer@indyweek.com. Also, please support our sponsors. (This week’s Primer sponsor is the Raleigh Flyers, the Triangle’s professional Ultimate Disc team.) They keep the lights on. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. WE HAVE A BUDGET. THE GIST: Yesterday, the General Assembly unveiled its $23 billion compromise budget, which would boost teacher pay by 3.3...

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Durham’s $429 Million Budget Raises Taxes to Fund Affordable Housing, Additional Firefighters

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 5:25 AM

The Durham City Council on Monday night approved a $429.4 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year that invests in affordable housing, public safety, and infrastructure. The budget includes a property tax rate increase of 1.79 cents in order to dedicate a second penny of the tax rate to affordable housing and hire thirty new firefighters, among other investments. The property tax rate will increase to 57.86 cents per $100 of property value. The average homeowner will pay about $32 in property taxes than last year as a result of the increase. A penny of the tax rate generates about...

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Supreme Court Rules That North Carolina Can’t Deny Sex Offenders Access to Facebook

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 11:26 AM

A unanimous Supreme Court today struck down a North Carolina law that makes it a felony for a registered sex offender “to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages.” That’s pretty much all of them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The case, Packingham v. North Carolina, centers on sex offender Lester Packingham, who was convicted for posting “God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court costs,...

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Primer: Cuba Crackdown and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM

Happy Friday, y’all. Two thoughts before we begin: 1) As always, your feedback is appreciated; this newsletter is an evolving creature, and we’re perpetually trying to make it better. 2) Tomorrow is Saturday, which means it’s the day this week’s Primer sponsor, Beer Camp on Tour, comes to town. So one last time: if you’re looking for something fun to do, or if you need a last minute Father’s Day gift (dads like beer!), click here, or click the ad image at the bottom of the page, and check it out. One last thing: After I published the newsletter...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

FADE Coalition on Frank Clark: "We Want Answers. We Want Justice.”

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 1:01 PM

After the Durham Police Department cleared three officers involved in the November shooting death of Frank Clark, the Durham FADE Coalition is asking for more transparency, cooperation, and accountability from the city. "All too often, victims of police shootings are blamed, shamed, and framed as if they would still be alive if they had acted differently, when in fact, the cause of death usually starts with the police instigating an encounter for no clear or apparent reason," FADE (which stands for Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement) wrote in a letter to the Durham City Council via SpiritHouse today. You can read the...

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Primer: Trump Is Thinking About Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 10:27 AM

Happy Tuesday, everyone. There’s a lot in the news, and we’ll get to it straightaway. But first, may I ask a favor? Our first Primer seemed to go well; the response was overwhelmingly positive. But if you are experiencing any problems or have any suggestions about how we can make this newsletter more readable—e.g., if the formatting looks wonky on your computer or device—please pass them along to jbillman@indyweek.com. This is a new venture, and we’re learning as we go. So with that said, let’s go. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. HE WOULDN’T DARE. (WOULD HE?) THE GIST: According to one of...

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Southpoint Mall Posts Signs, Can Tow GoTriangle Park-and-Riders Now

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 5:51 AM

Following a spat with GoTriangle, the Streets at Southpoint has installed new signs on park-and-ride spots that will allow the mall to tow cars belonging to transit riders if they violate parking rules. Last week, transit users reported finding fliers on their cars saying they could be towed if parked in designated park-and-ride spots outside of the hours of six a.m. to six p.m. But parking lot signage did not specify any such time limits, so according to Durham’s planning director, towing would have violated city code. The Streets at Southpoint has since installed new signs reading “Reserved for Park...

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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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Clark Family Attorney Responds to Durham Police Report on Fatal Shooting

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 2:38 PM

The attorney representing the family of a man who was shot to death by Durham police in the McDougald Terrace housing community in November wants to be sure the officers involved do not return to patrol the neighborhood where Frank Clark died despite the Durham Police Department’s Friday announcement that the three officers “violated no administrative policy or procedure” during the incident. Dave Hall, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, released a statement as the Clark family mulls what steps, if any, they’ll take next. "As we continue to review all of the evidence in this case and...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

There Are Some Weird Things About the DPD’s Version of Frank Clark’s Death

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 4:02 PM

Earlier today, when the Durham Police Department released its account of what happened November 22 in McDougald Terrace to justify an officer-involved shooting that left Frank Clark dead, it marked the third official dissemination of a narrative regarding the case. But each account offers a different version of just what unfolded that morning—and all three contradict statements provided to the INDY by self-described eyewitnesses the day of the shooting and in the weeks after the incident. The first report, released November 29 by the DPD, lacked detail. The department later noted that none of the officers involved contributed to the...

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Durham Police Department Clears Cops in Shooting Death of Frank Clark

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 11:25 AM

In a press release today, the Durham Police Department announced that its internal review had concluded that the three officers involved in the shooting death of Frank Clark in McDougald Terrace in November did not violate department policies or procedures. As the INDY reported at the time, witness accounts of the shooting seemed to contradict what the police department said in its initial five-day report. One witness said it started when an unmarked police car was seen “circling the block”—prompting “everyone who was out here to take to running.” But one man, Clark, remained—walking away slowly until he “locked...

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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

Durham Planning Director Says Streets at Southpoint Can’t Legally Tow GoTriangle’s Riders’ Cars

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 2:53 PM

After GoTriangle accused the Streets at Southpoint of threatening to tow its riders' cars, Durham's planning director says doing so would be a violation of the city's unified development ordinance. The transit agency said Wednesday that fliers had been placed on GoTriangle riders' cars saying they would be towed if parked at the mall outside the hours of six a.m. to six p.m. Monday through Friday. In a 2008 agreement between the city and the mall, Southpoint agreed to set aside 147 of its parking spots for people to park their cars and board GoTriangle buses. The mall had offered...

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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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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Supreme Court Rejects Racist Legislative Districts, Durham City Council Rejects Publix

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 9:48 AM

A lot happened around the Triangle Monday. Let's review. 1) Supreme Court confirms that district lines were racially gerrymandered. It's unclear whether special 2017 elections will occur, but the high court delivered a blog to the GOP-controlled legislature. From the INDY: This morning the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that twenty-eight state legislative districts in North Carolina are racially gerrymandered, but vacated the court's order to redraw the maps and hold special elections in 2017. The Supreme Court's three-page order zeroed in on the panel's decision to call for new maps and special elections, explaining its decision to...

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@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

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