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Testy redistricting debate

WFDD’s Paul Garber makes the case that Republican landslides in 2014 General Assembly races were the result of gerrymandered districts, but Sen. Bob Rucho –who chaired the Senate redistricting committee– was having none of it.

Interesting interview— listen here.

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Elon U. has officially lost it

Elon University has officially dropped the term freshman, replacing it with “first year student.”

Maybe –just maybe –I can understand that ‘freshman’ is an outdated term, as Elon’s ‘director of inclusivity’ Leigh-Anne Royster explains. But she couldn’t just stop there:

Royster stated the word “freshman” naturally insinuates a hierarchy among students on campus. She said she believes that students are viewed as younger and less experienced when referred to as “freshman.” With that, Royster stated “freshman” may contribute to sexual violence on campus because it labels the youngest students, causing them to be targets.

“The term has often been felt to refer to the vulnerableness of young women in college for the first time,” Royster said. “Given the rates of sexual violence perpetrated against women on college campuses, it is useful to examine any use of a term that suggests that a group of people just entering college might be targets for such violence in any way.”

Lots of money —parents’ money, that is —passing through Elon. And this is how they utilize it.

Via Carolina Plott Hound.

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Re: Gboro mayor proposes civil rights museum bailout

Lots of reaction to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s motion that the city take over operation of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum during a testy museum board meeting on Monday.

No surprise that Vaughan and board member Earl Jones have differing views of the museum’s financials:

In fact, Jones said, the museum staff told board members Monday that it had raised $540,000 toward the $1.5 million forgivable loan.

When asked Monday if the museum is in good shape financially, Vaughan said: “Not by any accounting standard I’m aware of.”

Personally I think it’s great to see Vaughan call out Jones and his buddies Skip Alston and Deena Hayes-Greene. It will also be interesting to see how Vaughan reacts to the racial politics considering the sensitivity she showed to the LGBT community following the alleged murder of a gay male by a city employee, which many were quick to speculate was a hate crime. She’s obviously concerned about “inclusivity,” but she’ll where that gets her when takes on Jones, Alston and company.

There are indeed many important questions for the mayor–the museum’s financials are complicated —including staggering debt.

N&R letters to the editor lately have been running hard against more taxpayer money for the museum —and guess what —taking over operation would mean more taxpayer money, with a downtown performing arts center coming on line in a couple of years. I’m not sure the average voter wants to take out Jones and Alston that bad.

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Natural gas trucks—so good yet so bad

N&R front-pager on Epes Transport System’s five natural gas trucks and the potential effect on air quality:

For years, the Triad has struggled with poor air quality. Our sprawling topography is partly to blame — it forces commuters and commercial vehicles to travel longer distances, which increases air pollution.

In 2013, the Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem area ranked as the 42nd most polluted in the nation, according to a study performed by the American Lung Association.

That same study said the Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury area ranked 19th.

And from 2009 to 2011, Forsyth County reported 18 code-orange days. Code orange means ozone levels reach unhealthy levels for active children and adults and people with lung diseases.

Enter the natural-gas trucks. Because the Triad and Charlotte areas don’t meet Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards, the N.C. State program — called the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center — has asked Epes to drive the trucks only in Guilford, Mecklenburg and a cluster of surrounding counties to see if it makes a difference.

“The EPA is constantly pressuring us to reduce our greenhouse gas and carbon footprint and each ensuing year seems to bring a new set of rules,” said Paul Huffman, senior vice president of maintenance for Epes.

“So, we’re trying to learn about it to get ahead of the curve.”

Hey, kudos to Epes for innovating. But a question for environmentalists and the mainstream media — how do we acquire natural gas? You guessed it— and it seems to me they don’t that here in N.C.

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Dudley’s championship run over before it starts

Greensboro Dudley High School has lost its second appeal with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, ending its quest for a second straight state title before it begins. Dudley was the top seed in the state 4A playoffs and was scheduled to take on 16th-seeded Jamestown Ragsdale tonight.

As disconcerting as it is that during the appeal process Dudley coach Steven Davis revealed other instances of using ineligible JV players aside from last Friday’s victory over Southeast Guilford, it is heartening to see Davis, Principal Jesse Pratt and athletics director Joe Goddette take full responsibility for the violations and —most thankfully — avoid the temptation of taking legal action to keep the players on the field.

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Civil rights museum getting desperate

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger down at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, board chair Deena Hayes Greene pulls another card out of her sleeve. If you guessed it’s the race card, you would be right —but then again, what would we expect from Hayes-Greene based on he years serving on the Guilford County Board of Education?

With questions still swirling around in the wake of this week’s dismissal of executive director Lacy Ward, Hayes-Greene called a private meeting involving 60 “community leaders” to discuss Ward’s dismissal and the museum’s status. Among those receiving invitations were a couple of first-class race baiters: the Rev. Nelson Johnson and the Rev. William Barber.

The Rhino’s John Hammer specualtes —not unreasonably —that the museum is simply out of money for operations. With Mayor Nancy Vaughan —who voted not to fire Ward —publicly stating that the museum will get no more money from the city (other that what’s already been approved by the City Council) it appears as though Hayes-Greene has turned to outside influences to somehow keep the museum afloat, though exactly how that will happen is unclear pretty much to everyone.

The N&R reports Hayes-Greene didn’t include museum board members —including Mayor Vaughan — in the invitation. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it’s assumed board members are invited. If not, the board should call a meeting and vote to fire Hayes-Greene immediately. But somehow I don’t think that will happen.

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Re: Gay couple’s complaint against Green Street Methodist Church

Winston-Salem Journal’s write-up made the point, but it needs to be emphasized: Green Street United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Kelly Carpenter believes gay couples should be married in the Methodist church.

That belief was put into action when in 2013 the Green Street “announced that it would not conduct marriages for heterosexual couples until the denomination allows pastors to conduct same-sex marriages.”

And what does Rev. Carpenter’s support get him? A gay going going over his head to his boss and filing a complaint. Question is how far behind is legal action?

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Gboro mayor speaks out on civil rights museum

N&R reports Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan “broke ranks” with International Civil Rights Center & Museum board members and spoke out regarding the termination of executive director Lacy Ward.

Unfortunately the mayor didn’t say much:

“I thought we were moving ahead,” said Vaughan, who said she voted to keep Ward. “But obviously a majority of the board thought we weren’t.”

…Vaughan said Ward’s firing may erode public support and hamper efforts to raise money for the struggling museum. “I certainly don’t think we will offer any more assistance other than what we’ve already promised,” she said, referring to the city.

Meanwhile board chair Deena Hayes-Greene said Ward’s dismissal was the result of a “serious problem” that the board “had to act on.”

Whatever serious problem is was, it didn’t prevent Ward from wining and dining the Greensboro Rotary Club last week and sharing his vision for the museum with N&R publisher Grits Gauger, who was impressed and thus was caught by surprise when Ward was canned.


Dudley’s championship run in jeopardy?

Greensboro Dudley High School is anxiously waiting on word from the NCHSAA following appeal of the Panthers’ suspension from the state football playoffs for using an ineligible JV player in the final regular season game.

The Panthers are the top seed in western bracket of the state 4A playoffs and were poised to make a run at a second straight championship.

N&R columnist Ed Hardin says Dudley’s season shouldn’t ruined on a technicality, but by the same token, coaches need to know the rules. I wouldn’t say precendence is on Dudley’s side; the NCHSAA came down on Northern Guilford for using an ineligible JV player last season, ending the Nighthawks 34-game win streak.

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Not the way to get your downtown business going

I’ve got a buddy who does accounting work for the new Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company in downtown Greensboro. Back in September we ran the Retro 5k that started and ended at Gibbs Hundred, and afterward we drank a few beers and checked it out. Great place, and I was anxious for the official opening.

Turns out last night Gibbs Hundred had a packed house, only the crowd wasn’t there to drink craft brews on tap —they were there to discuss to discuss the two violent incidents over the weekend at South Elm and Lewis streets, one of which was shootout (involving a police officer) in which a man was killed.

This is problematic for Greensboro officials —Mayor Nancy Vaughan and City Council member Zack Matheny expressed their concern —-because Lewis Street is finally starting to develop, luring people to the far end of South Elm Street. Props to Gibbs Brewing for getting involved, but I know they’d rather have a packed house on a Monday evening for another reason –namely drinking good beer.

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