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Guilford commissioners say yes to Say Yes

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution supporting the Say Yes to Education initiative. Commissioners approved the resolution by a 6-3 vote following what the High Point Enterprise described as a “contentious and tense debate.”

Before passing the resolution, commissioners scolded the Say Yes advocates for not being as upfront with them from the outset when the campaign was unveiled in February. Republican Commission Chairman Hank Henning of High Point said the board was being brought in “at the end of the process” when the members should have been informed all along.

Democratic Commissioner Kay Cashion of Greensboro agreed, saying that her first substantive conversation on Say Yes took place during the work session.

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green pledged better communication going forward.

Lack of communication on Say Yes was the complaint from the High Point City Council before it passed a resolution supporting Say Yes.

The Republican-majority commission approved the resolution only after including a compromise that Say Yes organizers would “remain in a dialogue about including charter school students at some point in the future.”

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W-S Liberty Street Market: Back to square one

Winston-Salem Journal reports Winston-Salem city officials are “back to square one on the operation of the Liberty Street Market, following the decision by the market operator in June to back out of her contract with the city.”

The market was conceived to alleviate what government likes to term a “food desert,” but —according to the city’s director of community and business development—the level of activity never “reached the level that we were satisfied with or one could say was a successful operation.” People hanging out on the street in front of the market and making potential shoppers “uncomfortable”—as City Council member Vivian Burke put it—didn’t help business.

So for now the city is stuck with a $350,000 market with no business.

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Gboro civil rights museum and the Reynolds Foundation

N&R reports Greensboro International Civil Rights Center and Museum has received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. But how much remains a mystery:

As is often the case with the museum’s affairs, an official there wouldn’t provide answers. Deena Hayes-Greene, the chairwoman of the museum’s board of directors, declined Thursday to discuss the details.

“We can confirm that a grant has been awarded from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to support the mission, values and operations” of the museum, she wrote in an email.

N&R public records requests indicate the grant is $200,000—a drop in the bucket in light of the museum’s dire financial situation.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the editor, a member of the museum’s board of directors accuses the N&R of unrelenting attacks on the museum before concluding that “(t)oday, when police murders of unarmed African American citizens across the U.S. have produced the “Black Lives Matter” movement, ICRCM’s inspirational and educational role is more needed than ever.”

Hard for an organization to provide such needed education and inspiration when it is asking the city for a refund on its water and sewer bill—as the N&R also discovered —-and getting rejected.

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Next chapter in Stacy Setliff’s life….

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Former Reidsville High School athletics booster Stacy Setliff gets five years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. In addition to child porn charges, Setliff was also arrested in 2014 on charges that she offered to perform oral sex on two 16-year-old male athletes, although those charges were later dropped.

I realize I’m hard on the N&R but I give reporter Danielle Battalia props for her dramatic retelling of Setliff’s sentencing:

Setliff, of 1224 Richardson Drive in Reidsville, told the court Thursday that the ordeal, rather than shattering her family, brought them closer together.

For now, that closeness will have to be in spirit as Setliff spends the next five years in a federal prison, the location of which was unknown Thursday.

…After 45 minutes, the hearing was over, and Setliff was off to begin the next chapter of her life — prison.

Before a U.S. marshal led her away, Setliff blew a kiss to her family and told them that she loved them.

Now that’s how you wrap a story.

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PTI’s ‘bold new approach’

Biz Journal discusses Piedmont Triad International Airport’s “bold new approach” in light of declining passenger service—economic development.

That’s cool and everything, but the problem is that’s been the plan seemingly forever—-still it doesn’t seem like that long ago that the Greensboro Partnership was telling high powered developer and now-Rhino publisher Roy Carroll to back off building apartments out by the airport because that land was meant for aviation-related economic development.

Some might say economic development around the airport is coming along slowly but surely –key word being ‘slowly.’

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HP says yes to Say Yes

Well kinda—-the High Point City Council approved a resolution—- as opposed to a memorandum of understanding, at which the council balked the last time it discussed the college scholarship and educational resource program for Guilford County Schools students.

Councilman Latimer Alexander questioned whether the city would eventually be expected to fund the Say Yes program over and above what it already provides for parks and recreation and library services.

Alexander asked whether the city should treat Say Yes like other nonprofits that request funding from council each year.

“There’s no financial ask in here,” said Mayor Bill Bencini, pointing out that the resolution gives council ultimate authority over any Say Yes expenditures.

“We can say no all we want to down the road. Right now, we need to say yes,” said Bencini.

Still holding out — the evil hard-hearted Republican majority Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

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Re: Controversial W-S Ardmore redevelopment

Residents and supporters of Winston-Salem’s historic Ardmore apartments met with developer Carolina Investment Properties at a forum hosted by City Council member Dan Besse to discuss plans to demolish the apartments to make way for a modern mixed-use development:

The supporters concern comes from a redevelopment proposal that would raze the historic Ardmore and Cloverdale apartment buildings in favor of a new mixed-use residential and retail area.

Alex Stone is a current resident at Cloverdale. He says he’s concerned that demolishing the buildings will displace too many people who need affordable housing.

“I mean, their next option is almost outside the city,” Stone said. “I don’t think the people who own this property really understand how many low-income people they’re displacing who don’t have a lot of other options.”

Supporters also say the post-war apartments are a historic part of the neighborhood, and the canopy of old trees throughout the area raises the quality of life.

WFDD interviews CIP’s Robin Team, who says “when we finish the redevelopment here, the neighborhood is going to like it…..I know the city of Winston-Salem is going to like the enhancement to tax value–and I might point out–without asking the city for a single dime.”

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Re: Gboro SC2 winners

No doubt you’ve heard that the City of Greensboro has announced the winners of the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge. Winner of the $500,000 prize was the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development for its proposed Global Opportunities Center, which will ostensibly “leverage the resources of local colleges and universities, corporations, and community partners by connecting and educating students and businesses in innovative ways that result in new global business and career opportunities.”

The Rhino’s John Hammer is —shall we say— somewhat skeptical:

If there is a less entrepreneurial group than government bureaucrats it would be hard to find them. The fresh idea that won the award was a Global Opportunities Center for downtown Greensboro to search for global business and career opportunities.

This idea is not fresh, innovative or entrepreneurial. In fact, it might be described as old and worn out.

But what is more infuriating than giving an award that is supposed to be to promote economic development and the entrepreneurial spirit to a bunch of government bureaucrats is that nobody who received any of the $900,000 in awards has to try and complete the plan that they presented to win the award.

UNCG, for instance, can use the money to fly the faculty to France for the weekend to promote global opportunities, or just for fun. The money is a gift from the federal government for the recipients to spend however they like. According to City Manager Jim Westmoreland, “There are no restrictions on the money.”

Guess what–I’ll choose not to be as skeptical as Hammer—I’ll just choose to sit back and wait for all the wonderful things the almost $1 million (total spread over six prizes) in taxpayers money is going to do for our fair city. That said, it might be a long wait.

Bonus observation: JLF’s Sarah Curry does not refer to SC2 specifically, but her latest Fiscal Update nonetheless provides valuable context:

Many will argue that this is “free” money and if North Carolina doesn’t take it, then it will go somewhere else. Every tax dollar Washington sends to North Carolina is a dollar taken from taxpayers in North Carolina and other states. Economists have found that federal subsidies to the states lead to higher state taxes and spending in the long run, because the federal “seed money” creates a demand for more government with current and future commitments.

Curry adds “North Carolina has set a powerful precedent by not accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid as well as rejecting the federal government’s extension of unemployment benefits,” a statement that no doubt gives the guys down at the local paper of record fits.

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Allen Johnson throws Mo Green under the school bus

I don’t know if the N&R meant this to be a point-counterpoint, but in today’s Ideas section, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green—in anticipation of the new school year—-reflects on GCS’ ‘tremendous accomplishments’ while on the facing page ed page editor Allen Johnson sighs “we found a solution to the achievement gap, then walked away from it.”

In Guilford County, racially and socioeconomically mixed schools are a long-lost cause that we don’t even talk about anymore. I’ve always believed integration can break down walls and shatter stereotypes. Now we’re building silos again. America is more diverse than ever but racial understanding is not where it needs to be. Schools that reflect that diversity would help, and, for a short while, they did.

We were close. Then we gave up, after barely trying.

All I know is Green’s has been superintendent for over seven years now —longer than someone we all know and love has held another public office —-and with a bleeding heart school board by his side every step of the way. I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, whether or not you choose to believe Allen Johnson or Mo Green —or neither.

Johnson’s cheap shot at Greensboro Day School in the lede does undermine his credibility somewhat.

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Tiger Woods and Gboro

Triad Conservative says Greensboro— and its paper of record—have “gone Mayberry” over Tiger Woods’ decision to grace us with his presence at the Wyndham Championship:

Greensboro’s liberal political and media elites have a condescending attitude toward small town and rural North Carolina.

They regard the concept of Mayberry as being beneath them. They regard themselves– and their chosen place to live– as far too cosmopolitan and diverse and complex and progressive and sophisticated and urbane and multicultural to be associated in any way with the mythical Mayberry.

But then Tiger Woods came to Greensboro to play in the Wyndham Championship. All of a sudden, they are behaving like country hayseeds, becoming hyper-excited over the idea that a former great player is competing in the hometown tournament. We see wall-to-wall coverage of his every move by the News and Record. We see a live blog over at Fox 8. WFMY also pours it on.

They stand with their mouths agape, awestruck to be in the mighty Woods’ presence.

Greensboro’s political and media elites, of course, believe ardently in both cultural relativism and sexual liberationism, which is distinctively un-Mayberry. Perhaps that is why they find Woods’ visit intriguing.

In any event, their reaction to his visit makes me think back to when Gomer Pyle used to exclaim, “Golllll….eeee!!!”

Indeed, today’s N&R editorial lays it on pretty thick. With all this in mind, you can’t help but note Woods’ comments –if you believe what you read in Ed Hardin’s column—- about Gboro’s “small town atmosphere,” prompting Hardin to quip Woods “thinks we’re quaint. Bless his heart.”

That’s the problem with the media–they want what they want when they want it. When they want Gboro to be big city, it needs to be big city; when they want it to be small town, then it needs to be small town—-long as it’s not made up of a bunch of white-ignorant-uneducated Jesse Helms-Donald Trump supporters.

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