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Gboro council backs off security ordinance

At last night’s meeting, the Greensboro City Council voted 8-1 to put a 30-day moratorium on the entertainment facility security ordinance passed earlier this month:

Council members said they wanted time to revise the ordinance. They voted 8-1 to put a 30-day moratorium on the ordinance at the request of Councilwoman Yvonne Johnson.
“I think there are some really big issues that were brought up that were unintended consequences, and we do have to address them,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.

We’ll see what happens in 30 days, considering there are many issues to be worked out.

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Further sullying Gboro’s civil rights museum

International Civil Rights Center and Museum chief financial officer and interim president John Swaine is not a certified public accountant in North Carolina:

In 2008, the N.C. State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners ordered Swaine to stop calling himself a CPA while he was director of finance at Industries of the Blind in Greensboro.

The CPA board told Swaine to “immediately cease and desist from the use of the titles ‘certified public accountant’ or ‘CPA,’” or face a $1,000 fine for each violation.

Swaine signed an order agreeing to those terms.

Since then, he has referred to himself as a CPA in various places — including on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Question is should we be surprised that the museum’s CFO has a checkered employment history —Swaine filed lawsuits against former employers Industries of the Blind and Goodwill—given the financial mess that prompted Gboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan to propose that the city take over?

Some might also say this further sullies the museum’s reputation. With that in mind, N&R editor and publisher Jeff “Grits” Gauger expressed his concerns about the proposed city takeover:

Risk No. 1 is that, at a time when public discourse too often defaults to “government is always incompetent,” the museum would suffer from its association with city government, even if not deserved. The museum’s reputation has been sullied enough by financial difficulties and incompetent leadership.

The notion that the museum’s reputation can be further sullied is somewhat laughable, considering the fact that anyone who has observed the museum’s leadership over the years —-Earl Jones, Skip Alston and Deena Hayes-Greene —know that further sullying is a tough bid.

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Fired UNCG employee: Strike two

A second panel of UNCG staffers recommended fired employee Lyda Carpen not be rehired due to her “unacceptable personal conduct” of using a university laptop for freelance jobs. The final decision regarding Carpen’s professional will be made by Chancellor Linda Brady. Gee I wonder what her decision will be.

No matter —- Carpen’s attorney Seth Cohen is setting the stage for an appeal with the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings in Raleigh. Cohen has his angle, and it involves Vice Chancellor Paul Mason, whom Carpen accused of creating a hostile work environment:

Cohen said Carpen was told not to discuss those matters during her interview with the panel, nor to discuss officials complaints she made against Mason.
The panel, however, wrote that it “does not feel that Mr. Mason targeted Ms. Carpen but acted morally and ethically in reporting his findings.”
Cohen said the panel couldn’t possibly make such a determination without hearing from Carpen.
“She said nothing (to the panel) about it. She provided no evidence,” he said.
“How did they make that finding, and why did they make that finding?”

The third appeal will be a public hearing, and Cohen wants to put Mason on the stand to explain what kind of work environment he was creating.

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Hagan: That’s a wrap

Outgoing Sen. Kay Hagan delivers her farewell address on the Senate floor, her voice ‘cracking with emotion’ at times.

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Friendly Ave. development battle heating up –again

N&R reports an Atlanta-based developer is looking at what is described as “probably the most sought-after undeveloped retail corner in Greensboro” —-the corner of Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road.

But previous development plans —-which possibly would have brought Trader Joe’s to Gboro –have met with opposition from nearby residents:

(Attorney Tom) Terrell said he and the developers have met twice with neighborhood groups.

But they haven’t met with Friendly Coalition, which plans to study Halpern’s proposal this weekend.

Scott Kinsey, a co-chairman of the Friendly Coalition, said he can’t speak for the group until after the meeting.

“It’s obvious the neighbors around there don’t want to see this rezoned, and I would hope the Planning Board and the City Council will take to heart what the residents have to say,” Kinsey said.

Stay tuned.

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Latest twist in Gboro civil rights museum saga

Big N&R front pager on the “last days” of International Civil Right Center and Museum director Lacy Ward. Reporter Joe Killian’s anonymous sources (don’t worry —N&R publisher and editor Grits Gauger signed off) say Ward wasn’t fired because he was being to frank about the museum’s dire financial position but because —wait for it —he was sexual harrasser:

…Ward’s detractors were wielding a new weapon: charges of inappropriate behavior with a female museum staffer, even of sexual harassment.

..The female employee at the center of the allegations against Ward was interviewed at least twice by groups of board members, including the board’s chairwoman, Deena Hayes-Greene.

According to one board member, the woman told those interviewing her that she never considered Ward’s behavior inappropriate. She told them she felt more pressure from the board to condemn Ward’s behavior than she ever felt from Ward himself, one board member and a museum employee close to the process said.

But just for good measure, museum board member Deena Hayes-Greene said Ward looked down her sister’s low-cut blouse at the Wyndham Championship. The museum’s old guard -Hayes-Greene, Earl Jones, Skip Alston and John Swaine —who brought the charges against Ward —-can’t call Ward a racist —the way they did Mayor Nancy Vaughan when she floated the plan for the city to take over the museum –because he’s already black. So the next available option is calling him a sexual harasser. Still, a cynic might worry if Killian’s anonymous sources were setting him up to plant the idea in the public’s mind that there was a reason to fire Ward, no matter how absurd it it.

What’s hilarious is the idea that that Ward’s alleged behavior could “besmirch the museum’s reputation.” Really.

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UNCG absurdity

Maybe –just maybe–I can understand a $400 fee for studio art students as part of an overall tuition and fee hike—- but $100 for art history majors?

Meanwhile, the Rhino’s John Hammer on fired UNCG employee Lyda Carpen’s efforts to get her job back:

Carpen, who is the supervisor who was charged with five felonies for signing inaccurate time cards for two photographers who worked for the department, will appear before a three-person panel as part of the formal grievance process concerning the appeal of her dismissal.

….Carpen, who is the supervisor who was charged with five felonies for signing inaccurate time cards for two photographers who worked for the department, will appear before a three-person panel as part of the formal grievance process concerning the appeal of her dismissal.

…Carpen is going through the appeal process to get her job back, but it appears to be going from the absurd to the more absurd. The three-person panel makes a recommendation to the chancellor or her designee, and then the chancellor or her designee decides whether to follow the recommendation of the three-member panel or not. Carpen is not allowed to be represented by an attorney in front of the panel.

UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady has made her opinion on this case very publicly known. She agreed with the decision not just to fire Carpen, but to have her arrested and charged with multiple felonies, and Brady publicly defended both those decisions. The courts didn’t see enough evidence of criminal wrong doing to even consider the case, but Brady did.

It is absurd for Brady – who clearly has made up her mind – to make the decision on Carpen.

Hammer reports Carpen’s attorney says Chancellor Brady “is the last person on the UNCG campus who should be making this decision.”

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Gboro downtown security ordinance

By an 8-1 vote, the Greensboro City Council approved an ordinance mandating that clubs “have dancing or live music and a capacity of more than 100 patrons will have to hire two off-duty, uniformed police officers for security or two armed security guards whose training has been certified as outlined by state statute.”

The ordinance is a response to recent violence downtown. Mayor Nancy Vaughan and council member Zack Matheny noted —-according to the N&R —that “the absence of club owners appearing to protest the change indicates that these businesses know there is a problem and find the new ordinance reasonable.”

But questions remain, as active commenter Don Moore points out:

A good attorney should have this easily overturned, as it discriminates by exempting some locations. Then you have the issue of available off-duty officers. At a minimum, we are potentially talking about 48 officers every Friday and Saturday night until the clubs get their people up to speed. I don’t believe there are enough officers wanting overtime (for that time and duty) to fill that need.

We’ll see how this plays out.

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Panthers’ innovative loss

In all my years of reading the sports page, I’m not sure that I’ve ever noted a sportswriter describing a loss as ‘innovative.’ Then again, the Panthers’ loss to the Vikings was —shall we say— a special occasion:

At least Sunday’s loss was innovative. For the fifth time in NFL history – and the first since 1990 – a team blocked two punts and returned them for touchdowns.

The first blocked punt came with seven minutes left in the first quarter. Adam Thielen rushed at punter Brad Nortman from the middle of the line between snapper J.J. Jansen and Mario Addison and suffocated the ball with his stomach.

Thielen picked up the ball and went 30 yards for the longest blocked punt returned for a touchdown in Vikings history.

The record didn’t make it to halftime.

On Carolina’s next punt attempt, in the second quarter, Jasper Brinkley slid past Ben Jacobs and blocked Nortman’s punt. Everson Griffen collected it and ran 43 yards for a score.

Coach Ron Rivera was “adamant” that the consecutive blocked punts for touchdowns were not symptomatic of larger special teams issues. If failing to adjust after the first blocked punt is “innovative,” then I’d hate to see a total breakdown.

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Dudley’s season wiped out

Forget for a moment being banished from the playoffs—as the No. 1 seed no less —- now we learned Greensboro Dudley High School’s entire football season has been wiped out.

Dudley will forfeit all 10 regular season games for dressing JV players, which is the offense that got the Panthers kicked out of the playoffs. Dudley was one of seven Guilford County Schools to be fined and reprimanded by the NCHSAA, among them High Point Andrews, which was “fined $4,500 for failing to complete pre-game or post-game paperwork” and now will forfeit nine games.

Update: Excellent explanation of NCHSAA’s complicated eight-quareter rule that allows freshman and sophomores to move up to varsity, but not juniors—which is what got Dudley in hot water.

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