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Have we heard the last of Paul Mason?

The controversial (to say the least) UNCG vice chancellor moves on, several months after —as the N&R puts it —“orchestrating the October firings and arrests of two UNCG photographers and their boss, whom he accused of using university equipment for freelance work.”

But have we heard the last of Paul Mason? While two of the former employees ares still negotiating with the university, Lyda Carpen and her attorney Seth Cohen are taking the issue to an open-court administrative hearing in High Point in March.

The goal of the hearing is not only to get Carpen’s job back but to get Mason on the stand and have him testify to the type of work environment he was creating — which many former employees claim was hostile, harassing and intimidating.

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WSFCS contaminated school site chaos

Probably not hard to imagine that a “normally sedate” (an understatement) Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education meeting got quite testy as parents demanded answers regarding hazardous waste near Hanes and Lowrance middle schools, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal on Sunday.

Emotions ran high:

“Don’t be afraid to shut this school down,” said Vishal Khanna, who has a student at Hanes. Afterward, he said his child would no longer attend the school.

….Sarah Gillett, said she’s had two children go to Hanes and has one son who is an eighth-grader there now. She asked him if he wanted to stay home on Tuesday, but said there was a class he couldn’t miss.

“He went in late and I cried when I left the parking lot,” she said. “I don’t think I’m going to send him back.”

WSFCS spokesman Theo Helm tells WFDD:

(P)arents have been informed of the issue in the past, and that the only reason this comes up now is that there is a proposal to build a replacement school on an unused part of the campus. But he says he hopes the meeting Wednesday will address parental concerns.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about at board committee meetings. We’ve never tried to hide it,” says Helm. “We’ve monitored the air. We’ve always felt like it’s safe. Certainly, we’re meeting with parents and we’ll explain all that and explain what steps we’ll take moving forward.”

Discussing an issue at school board committee meetings is a prime example of hiding in plain sight. That said, Superintendent Beverly Emory says she will recommend immediate air quality testing at both schools. And what if the air quality passes DENR’s muster? Will that satisfy parents worried about their child’s health? Probably not.

Look– this is a tailor-made mainstream media issue —environmental waste jeopardizing the children– while the fact remains that this very days hundreds of children will still pass through the doors of Lowrance and Hanes middles schools, just as thousands have passed through the doors over the years. How much evidence is there of children actually getting sick as a result of contaminated air?

This is a mess, and it will be interesting to see how Emory handles it. At the very least, I don’t how the school board and county commissioners can proceed with fast-track plans to replace Lowrance.

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Relieving zoo traffic

Biz Journal passes along N&O article reporting state transportation officials are finally looking to make good promises of a dedicated connector road to the N.C. Zoo:

As it is, when the zoo opens a new exhibit or holds a special event such as October’s “Boo at the Zoo” – or it’s just a warm holiday weekend – cars, vans and buses pour out of the zoo parking lots near closing time and their drivers try to head back north on N.C. 159. But they get stopped by the traffic light at the intersection with U.S. 64, where cars trying to turn left, to head toward Greensboro and Charlotte, stack up in the turn lane. Drivers hoping to turn right, toward Raleigh, are stuck waiting behind them.

Sometimes the line of vehicles stretches several miles and the wait is 90 minutes, long enough for people to call the zoo and complain, or to send angry emails or go on travel websites and post terse reviews.

Good news —only problem is plans call for a roundabout at the zoo entrance to keep traffic moving along N.C. 159.

JLF has been weighing in on roundabouts for years now, identifying them for what they are — a fad within the traffic planning profession that does little to alleviate congestion.

Hopefully planners will come with a solution that will appease residents along N.C. 159 who “complain as loudly as the drivers stuck in their cars with tired, hungry toddlers after a day in the park.”

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Wake-UNC non-conference game?

ESPN reports Wake Forest and North Carolina have scheduled and home-and-home football series that will not count in the conference standings:

North Carolina and Wake Forest are in separate divisions in the ACC and no longer play annually. Because of that, the two have only met four times since 2004.

The two are scheduled to play a conference game in Chapel Hill in 2015. But their next scheduled conference game is not until 2022 in Winston-Salem.

Hey I’m Mr. Oldschool when it comes to the ACC, so I’m still having trouble with the havoc expansion is wreaking on traditional matchups both in football and basketball, though I have enjoyed Louisville and Notre Dame coming south —Sunday night’s Irish -N.C. State matchup was very entertaining, although it was not the outcome I would have preferred.

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Ask Don Martin about the contaminated school site

Another notable quote, this time in the Winston-Salem Journal front-pager on underground contamination found on the site of Winston-Salem /Forsyth County Schools’ proposed $15 million middle school for special needs kids:

Don Martin, a newly elected commissioner who was the school district’s superintendent for 19 years, said he doesn’t remember specifics about the environmental concerns on the site but is confident it is safe.

“I just know that whatever we were supposed to do, we did,” said Martin, who is vice chairman of the board of commissioners. “I don’t remember the details, but the tests were within whatever tolerance levels were safe.”

This news will certainly slow down the fast track funding WSFCS was seeking.

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Ask Mike Barber about the Klan-Nazi shootout

Notable quote from today’s N&R front-pager on the controversy over a proposed historical marker commemorating the 179 Klan-Nazi shootout:

“I certainly don’t think those people deserved to die,” Greensboro Councilman Mike Barber said last week. “But if you go and poke a bunch of rednecks who have guns and you print ‘Death to the Klan’ fliers, that puts you in the stupid category if you ask me.”

Otherwise Joe Killian’s article is pretty much the same article you see on the front page of the N&R every few years. If putting up a historical marker means I won’t have to read this story for a few more years, then I say fine.

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‘Greensboro Massacre’ historical marker compromise

It appears as though a compromise has been reached in the dispute over the proposed state historical marker near the site of the Nov. 3 1979 Klan-Nazi-Communist Workers Party shootout that left four people dead:

On Monday, Councilmen Tony Wilkins and Zack Matheny, the two strongest voices against the marker, said they would consider giving their approval if the word “massacre” was changed.

A state committee is seeking approval for a historical marker about “Greensboro Massacre.”

“I think if the wording was changed to ‘shootout’ or ‘shooting’ it would be closer to what actually happened,” Matheny said. “The marker can’t tell the whole story but the word ‘massacre’ gives you the wrong idea about what actually happened that day.”

Michael Hill, a staff member from the Historical Marker Advisory Committee, said Wednesday that the committee is open to input from the council and will consider changing the word “massacre.”

If the compromise is made, a historical marker could be in place by April.

You wouldn’t know what actually happened based on reading N&R reporter Joe Killian’s write-up; nowhere is it mentioned that CWP members not only were armed but possibly fired the first shot.

OK, Killian wasn’t around –maybe not even born–when the shootout took place, so it’s possible–just possible–he’s not aware of this evidence. But you’ll have to pardon readers if they might that evidence was purposefully omitted, given the conscious hard left turn the paper has taken in recent months.

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W-S council–shell building yes; shopping center maybe

Winston-Salem City Council members Vivian Burke and Robert Clark questioned proposed funding to renovate the Southeast Plaza Shopping Center.

But Burke and Clark gave different reasons for questioning the proposal. Burke –who made the no consideration motion that prevented the proposal from going to a vote —wants more city money for the Ogburn Station Shopping Center, which is in Burke’s Ward.

Clark had a different reason for questioning Southeast owner Jose Isasi’s $1.34 million request:

Clark said earlier in the meeting he could not support Isasi’s request, saying that it conjured memories of the city’s experience with BB&T Ball Park, where initial investments in the millions of dollars had to be followed by millions more in 2009 to keep the project going.
“I am concerned if we have a true understanding of what we have gotten into,” Clark said, noting that he expects Isasi to come back to the city for even more money, since the amount proposed was less than what Isasi requested.

Good for Clark—seems to me councils rarely know what they’re getting into while handing out taxpayers’ money just for the asking.

But then what does Clark and his fellow council members do? Unanimously approve a $2.5 million loan to Winston-Salem Business Inc. for construction of a shell building at Union Cross Business Park, with the money to be repaid when the building sells. Apparently they know what they’re getting into there.

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Now that’s satire

Yet another City of Greensboro press release:

A column entitled “Greensboro trying to be the Pyongyang of North America” in the Jan. 15 issue of the Rhino Times has many readers believing that the events depicted in the satirical essay are factual when, in fact, they are not.

The actions of the Greensboro police as written in the article did not occur. The lovely couple from Ireland was never arrested by the officers from the Greensboro Police Department because the couple does not exist. The vignette so eloquently described by Rhino Times Editor-in-Chief John Hammer is a work of fiction.

….Hammer said, “I would like to apologize to the officers in the Greensboro Police Department for any ill will I inadvertently caused. I come in contact with the men and women of the Greensboro Police Department on a regular basis and I have the highest regard for the work they do. Day in and day out they work to keep the rest of us safe, and I appreciate their efforts.”

Love the way the city describes Hammer’s column as an “eloquently described vignette.” Now that’s satire.

Meanwhile the N&R’s Doug Clark offers up his own version of satire regarding a couple of “shabbily dressed” individuals he encounters in the Division of Employment Security office.

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C-SPAN coming to Gboro

City of Greensboro press release:

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Time Warner Cable welcome C-SPAN to Greensboro at 4:30 pm today to kick-off a visit to record and feature the city’s history and literary life.

At Tuesday’s event, C-SPAN representatives will reveal the stories and segments that will be explored by the national network during their week-long stay. During their time in Greensboro, C-SPAN representatives will also conduct community and education outreach.

Wonder if this dark and controversial (to say the least) day —possibly to be recognized with a historical marker– will be one of the “stories and segments.”

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