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Archive for November, 2011

‘A real blessing to the school system’

That’s how former Mineral Springs Middle School Principal Randy Fulton described Ralph Surridge when a parent expressed concerns abut her daughter’s relationship with the former drama teacher, who yesterday entered an Alford plea to several counts of sexually abusing students. The judge sentenced Surridge to 10 to 12 years in prison.

The allegations from the 2005-2006 school year came to light only after the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department began investigating Surridge for complaints filed in 2009, for which he was eventually charged. WSFCS fired Surridge in November 2009, one month after the sheriff’s office began investigating him.

An SBI investigation into how school officials have handles claims of sexual misconduct against teachers recently concluded, and District Attorney Jim O’Neill will be briefed soon. Prosecutors “have said they have had difficulty getting information involving sexual abuse cases” in WSFCS.

The Winston-Salem Journal >reports Fulton “attended Surridge’s hearing Tuesday and talked with family members and friends afterward.” Judge that for yourselves, dear reader.

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Perdue’s dilemma

Yesterday I briefly touched on the difficult choice Gov. Bev Perdue faces regarding the repealed, rewritten, revamped —however you see it —-Racial Justice Act.

JLF president John Hood analyzes:

To get back to Perdue’s dilemma, her problem is that the Senate voted 27-17 to concur with the House rollback of the Racial Justice Act. It is now on her desk. If she sticks to her position and vetoes the bill, she will once again have taken a position contrary to that of most North Carolinians, including many moderate Democrats. But if she allows the rollback, the left-wing base of her party will go ballistic.

Hood concludes the governor’s “reelection prospects just got a little dimmer.” It’s all right there for Pat McCrory, but if anybody can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…….

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Mental health maneuverings in HP

Coming up next month will be crucial votes that will determine whether or not the state’s forensic mental health center will move to High Point.

Lots going on here, but I’ll try to give you the short version. For starters, a forensic mental health center, as Capital Beat explains, holds “patients ordered to get mental health treatment before they stand trial or ordered into the custody of a mental health provider after trial.” The facility would combine the mental health units now at Central Prison and Dorthea Dix Hospital. A private provider, GEO Care, would operate the facility.

As you can probably imagine, not everyone in High Point is fired up about the prospect, most notably Mayor Becky Smothers, who —according to council member Latimer Alexander —is rushing a rezoning that would block the facility. Interestingly enough, Alexander is also accusing Smothers of protecting land slated for mixed-use development across the street part-owned by David Griffin Jr., whose dad was in the middle of the controversy surrounding the White Street landfill in Greensboro.

But if you’ve ever driven through HP’s Five Points neighborhood, you’ll catch on to the bottom line real quick:

That anyone would not want a treatment center for the criminal justice system on the Evergreens property is unsurprising. With the new US 311 bypass now running past High Point and one of its few interchanges located at the intersection with Greensboro Road, Greensboro Road will be a major entranceway to High Point – one that already needs some work, given the deteriorating beige-box commercial buildings that dominate Five Points. A commercially operated mental health unit for the criminal justice system didn’t top anyone in High Point’s wish list for the county property.

Stay tuned.

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Christie raises cash for McCrory

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was reportedly in Greensboro yesterday attending a fundraiser for former Mayor Pat McCrory, who more than likely will take on Gov. Bev Perdue in next year’s election.

Christie’s visit coincides with news that former Greensboro Chamber of Commerce president Peter Reichard was among three former Perdue campaign workers were indicted for obstruction of justice.

The governor also faces a difficult decision after the Senate voted to repeal the Racial Justice Act. Perdue must decide whether to sign SB 9 into law or veto it.

Update: The N&R’s Doug Clark analyzes, showing why the bill is a rewrite instead of a repeal, although Raleigh Democratic Sen. Josh Stein maintains the bill “is an utter and total repeal.”

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GSO-Guilford luv fest —good luck

Seems to me the spin since the election of the liberal-majority Greensboro City Council is ‘everyone’s going to get along so much better.’ Pretty typical —remember it’s always evil conservatives who impede progress.

Over the weekend he N&R editorialized expressed hope that G’boro and Guilford County will be better neighbors:

Beyond the issues themselves has been the quality of the interaction between city and county leaders, or lack thereof. Even though their respective offices are within a casual stroll of one another, they may as well work in different area codes.

Those tensions have only been amplified by tighter budgets. Still, both sides sounded more conciliatory following the Nov. 8 election that saw four seats change on the council, including the mayor. “We need to get out of this ‘I-write-you-a-letter-and-in-six-weeks-you-write-me-a letter-back’ way of doing business,” the mayor-elect, Robbie Perkins, told the News & Record’s Joe Killian. “I think if we actually talk we should be able to solve things like the water and sewer agreement with a 30-minute discussion.”

Commissioners Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston also spoke in more hopeful tones. “We’re hoping we can work with the new council a little better than the old one, and get some compromise solutions to the problems we’re all facing,” Alston said.

Keep this in mind when reading John Hammer’s Rhino column wondering how much money is in the joint city county water and sewer fund and where the interest on the money is. As usual, County Manager Brenda Jones Fox is being less than forthright with the city.

Apparently outgoing City Manager Rashad Young threw his hands in the air before packing his bag for the D.C. metro area. Bottom line is the city will have a tough time dealing with Guilford as long as Fox is in charge.

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Bobcats win NBA title?? (Yawn)

By now you’ve heard —but might not care —- that the NBA lockout has ended. Hard-line Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan rates a mention in the NYT’s analysis of the deal:

The sustained virility of Occupy Olympic Tower — the N.B.A.’s Manhattan headquarters — will give even Jordan and the most mismanaged franchises the opportunity to turn a profit, through the transfer of approximately $300 million a year from the players to the owners. We will have to wait for the fine print of the agreement to determine how much harder the salary cap has become, and how much competitive balance may result.

But here is the tricky part for the N.B.A. as it moves forward with its most potent teams inhabiting the glamour markets of Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and possibly soon New York: Will the sport ultimately benefit or bomb without superteams playing deep into June?

Ostensibly the deal will establish NFL-style parity, meaning small market teams like the Bobcats will have a better shot at the title.

But the irony —as Harvey Araton points out —the “league’s most explosive growth years were marked by predictability, the reliance on a handful of transcendent teams and stars relentlessly marketed by the major basketball shoe companies.”

In other words, when the Lakers, Celtics and the Heat are in title contention. So while a strong Bobcats playoff run might generate a lot of excitement in Charlotte, the reaction among hardcore NBA fans would be a collective yawn.

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Wolfpack bowl bound

I love football, but due to my busy schedule I rarely get to watch an entire game. (Some of you can probably relate.

But today I took a little holiday from my holiday (some of you can probably relate there as well) and watched pretty much the whole State-Maryland game. I knew the Pack could rally, I just thought they wouldn’t, especially after the drive that pulled them within twenty started out so anemically.

I think Tom O’Brien just saved his job. A spanking at home from a weak Terps squad would not have been tolerated.

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Guilford shooting rampage update

The death toll mounts in Sunday’s shooting rampage in Guilford County. The N&R reports two more victims —- one aged 17 and one aged 8 —- died at Moses Cone Hospital. Two more victims are in critical condition.

Meet Mary Ann Holder, who later turned the gun on herself. Holder was having an affair with Randy Lamb that turned ugly —as many affairs do.

I’m going to reserve my own personal judgment about the tragic mess these two people have left behind. But I simply can’t imagine what drives people to shoot innocent children.

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G’boro mayor-elect on greed

Yet another can’t believe my eyes moment. I’m just passing along what Inside Scoop is reporting:

The soon-to-be-mayor Robbie Perkins will chat on the topic of greed at Triad Stage next month.

He will be one of the guest speakers at The Monti Dec. 7:30, p.m., Dec. 12. Tickets are $20.

The Monti invites people to tell their personal stories live on stage and without notes. Each night has a different theme.

Hey, I’m not making judgments about our new mayor’s character, but I just have to wonder what the president of a large real estate firm could possibly have to say about greed.

I guess if you’ve got 20 bils to hear Robbie Perkins talk about greed, then have at it.

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Shooting rampage in Guilford County

Two dead and five wounded, among them three teenagers and a 9 year-old girl. Preliminary reports indicate the suspect was a woman involved in a domestic dispute. The sheriff’s office reports as deputies approached her, she turned the gun on herself and was later pronounced dead at Moses Cone Hospital.


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