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Meanwhile, in HP…downtown ‘multipurpose stadium’

Boosters—led by former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis— make the big pitch for a downtown “multipurpose sports stadium.”

The High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau stadium task force is still nailing down important details—such as the cost, the financing and exact location. CVB president Tim Mabe said “the overriding goal of the stadium is to revitalize the core of High Point with a centerpiece that will create jobs and business development and make the city appealing to young people.”

Meanwhile Davis said he “can’t think of another project that has spurred so much excitement.” Reading the comments beneath the HPE write-up, I’m skeptical about that statement.

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A cheaper–but more expensive–Gboro performing arts center

N&R reports:

Officials overseeing plans for downtown’s new performing arts center are mulling downgrades to the design to save money.

A scaled-back lobby. A cheaper sound system. Fewer architectural details.

But even then, the cost of building the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts still would go over budget.

What jumps out at me in the N&R report–based on public records released by the City of Greensboro— is officials are looking at “a LARES-brand sound system rather than the top-of-the-line Constellation-brand recommended by the symphony” —-which would save $958,000 (I know nothing about sound systems) while 25 more parking spaces would cost $1 million. I have no idea how this makes sense.

Earlier this month the N&R pondered whether $65 million was enough to build a state-of-the-art performing arts center. I guess we now know the answer—looks the city will indeed have to consider going to state Sen. Trudy Wade for help in securing a grant from the state.

But suing the purse holder doesn’t exactly get you to the front of the line.

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Gboro civil rights museum’s ‘clean audit’

International Civil Rights Museum founder and chairman emeritus Skip Alston on the museum’s 2014 audit:

“The bottom line is, it’s a clean audit.”

As the N&R says in today’s editorial, “technically that’s true.” Technically. But the museum’s “hand-picked auditor” also points to the museum’s “mounting debt, near-empty cash reserves and record-keeping weaknesses.”

So now it’s up to the embattled Greensboro City Council top decide whether or not this so-called ‘clean audit’ merits the final $250,000 installment of a $1.5 million forgivable loan from Gboro taxpayers, who are pretty much fed up with the whole thing.

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Trudy Wade through the N&O’s eyes

Just now stumbled across this big N&O profile of Sen. Trudy Wade.

Surprisingly sympathetic write-up from the N&O, no supporter of HB 263 are they.

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Judge rules against Gboro council redistricting

N&R reports Judge Catherine Eagles has ruled in favor of the Greensboro City Council in its lawsuit challenging HB 263, the law redistricting the council:

“It appears on the current record that the new statute deprives Greensboro voters, alone among municipal voters in the state, of the right to change the city’s municipal government by referendum and otherwise treats the City of Greensboro and its voters differently from all other municipalities and municipal voters, without a rational basis,” wrote Judge Catherine Eagles in her order Thursday.

“The plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm should the 2015 election go forward under the new law,” Eagles wrote. “And the public interest and the equities favor a return to the pre-existing status quo pending resolution of this lawsuit.”

The city’s traditional council structure and district maps will remain in place.

Obviously the question is whether or not there will be an appeal.

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Need cuddling? Go to Kville

Not exactly my first thought when I need cuddling —-and we all do, especially in today’s complicated world. But professional cuddler Melissa Hatten is making a go at the professional cuddling biz in Kernersville:

NC Cuddles opened May 1 in Hatten’s basement, joining a growing list of cuddling companies popping up across the country. She quickly outgrew the basement, though, and three weeks ago she moved to her current location on S. Cherry Street.

The business offers intimate, nonsexual cuddling sessions that can last anywhere from 15 minutes up to several hours — the most popular session length is 60 minutes, Hatten says — at a cost of a dollar per minute.

For your money, you get an hour (or whatever length of time you pay for) in a private room with one of the company’s three cuddlers, who will hug you, spoon you or otherwise snuggle with you in any number of comfortable, relaxing positions. If you like, the cuddler will provide other kinds of touch — say, for example, gently massaging your forehead, lightly stroking your arm or simply holding your hand — but again, there are definite boundaries.

Like–you guessed it —no naked cuddling, as one client requested. And —as you can also imagine—questions arise about whether or not NC Cuddles is a “smokescreen” for prostitution, a question to which Hatten responds “we make it very clear this is a nonsexual experience.”

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Amplify will honor tablet contract, GCS says

N&R follows up High Point Enterprise report that Amplify — supplier for Guilford County Schools —is getting out of the tablet business.

Amplify officials declined to comment, but GCS chief of staff Nora Carr said “we’re full steam ahead for this upcoming school year, and we anticipate that they will honor their contractual agreement with us.”

Carr got a dig in on school funding—or supposed lack thereof—much the same way school board member Linda Welborn did in the HPE write-up:

Even after suspending the use the tablets in 2013, Guilford leaders considered expanding the use of tablets to elementary and high schools.

That’s not off the table, Carr said, but chronic budget woes are hurting the chances of an expansion.

“We don’t have specific plans. Certainly, the vision remains the same,” she said.

Resources that would have gone toward buying devices for elementary and high school students have instead been used to make up for shortcomings in state and local funding, she said. Now, putting devices in the hands of all students would require new funding. Green and his staff have made no recommendation to the Guilford County Board of Education on securing that funding.

Apparently a $30 million federal Race to the Top grant doesn’t go as far as it once did.

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Truck driver charged in deaths is a citizen….

….But doesn’t speak English. Note Daniel Santiago Serna, the truck driver charged in the deaths of two motorcyclists following an accident on Interstate 85.

Serna was initially charged with one count of misdemeanor death by vehicle and felony hit-and-run after one motorcyclist died at the scene:

Serna appeared before retired Guilford County District Court Judge Sherry Alloway. She continued Serna’s bail at $100,000.

Serna, an American citizen, doesn’t speak English.

“The arrest was illegal,” he told Alloway through an interpreter during his first court appearance. “None of the police officers spoke Spanish, and I didn’t try to run away.”
Alloway admonished Serna, telling him that the appearance was not the time to “tell his side of the story.”

Serna has since been charged in the death of a second motorcyclist who died at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.

There is an English exception and accommodation on the naturalization test, but it appears Serna does not qualify.


HB 263 free for all

N&R report on yesterday’s press conference held by Greensboro Citizens for Fair Elections denouncing the Greensboro City Council’s lawsuit challenging HB 263, which restructures the council:

It began as a regular press conference, albeit one with an odd marriage of political partners.

It ended in a free-for-all.

Watch the video below and, uh, enjoy. Meanwhile, questions arise regarding whether or not the council is suing the right party.

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Mediator finds ‘no credible threat’ to HP human relations dir.

High Point Enterprise reports a report by a Raleigh attorney and certified mediator ” found that no credible threats to the lives” of City of High Point Human Relations Director Al Heggins or her assistant Tony Lowe.

Heggins and Lowe have been on paid leave since claimed that she feared for her life stemming from “racial tensions and institutional racism” within the city.

The mediator’s report was presented to the City Council by City Manager Greg Demko:

“These allegations are very serious and immediate action was taken to investigate the authenticity of these claims,” Demko said. “The investigator found that no credible threats to the lives of Heggins or Lowe exist and, accordingly, there is no reason why they should not be returned to work.”

He said Heggins’ allegations “have caused public confidence in the city to come into question,” and the release of a summary of the investigation “is essential in maintaining the public’s confidence in the administration of city services.”

Heggins and Lowe declined to be interviewed by the investigator and could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

According to the Enterprise, still hanging out there is Heggins’ complaint against the city with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the controversy surrounding anti-racism training for HP police officers and the city forum in which was involved that addressed the topic of white supremacy.

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